The following article is provided courtesy of the website ChristsOwn.WordPress.com (original article published on June 3rd, 2016)…
This is a question that, I am sure, we have heard many people ask, and even many of us have asked from time to time. I have come across various answers to this, many of which fail to deal with the issue effectively. So, then, what is the right answer? How can we ever know, and how can we help someone else who is looking for the answer?
David Wilkerson went home to be with Jesus in 2011. The following is a message he gave in January of 1993 about the love of God and I really like this one, so I’m passing it along. David was not like so many of the cookie-cutter variety preachers out there today. He was a man broken by God, in love with Jesus, and loved people. While so many pastors in traditional churches today are preaching about prosperity and money and serving the church program, David preached the Gospel of Jesus, the love of God, and the joy of knowing Christ as Lord. I remember one message he gave where he said the following about money:
- The Holy Spirit has laid on my heart something I need to share with you. It is a loving warning from the very heart of Jesus, who said: Take heed, and beware of covetousness (Luke 12:15)… Peter warned that false prophets would arise and through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you (2 Peter 2:3)… Peter warned us to beware of covetous ministers who would use the Word to exploit believers — greedy preachers who would develop a false doctrine of avarice and greed… God’s Word says of these rich, greedy preachers: Their judgment is near, and their destruction will not sleep (see 2 Peter 2:3). They have become blatant and arrogant in their greed. They now preach that you cannot receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit until you prosper. That’s blasphemy! Beloved, do not listen to this false gospel. It is satanic. It comes from the heart of men who are light and frivolous, jokesters, greedy for more. Isaiah the prophet has their number: Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain (Isaiah 56:11). I thank God that he has promised to supply all our needs. And I do not want any believer’s money to make me rich. We are rich when we have His peace and can live without fear all the days of our lives in holiness before the Lord! Thank you for your prayers and support for this ministry to the masses in New York City.
I just wanted to share that in preface to show the heart of this man who wrote the following article. I hope this encourages you! -Dave
The following is an excellent article, authored by our friends at ecclesia.org.
Why Believers should not attend Church
[Note. There are many godly people who attend church, and there are many positive things about attending church. Many people have discovered and accepted Christ in a church. This article is not putting down churches as far as a place to gather and hear the word of God, because it does not matter where one hears God’s Truth, as long as they hear it! However, this article deals with the topic of “how” we are to worship God, and addresses the belief that one must worship God in a physical building called a church. There is a difference between going to a place to hear God’s Word, and going to a place to worship God.]
by Melissa Taylor (Forward by Dave Y. of TruthForFree.com)
The following article is written by Melissa Taylor. It was a term paper for one of her classes. She chose the subject because it “touched home” for her. As she put it, “I’m amazed at how many Christians believe our illnesses are the result of sin or not having enough faith. I’ve provided this as something to get you thinking, even if it doesn’t change your mind on the issue.” I wanted to share her article as I found it encouraging. All of us have experienced some measure of hardship and suffering and many of us have heard a lot of “religious” responses to our circumstances. One of my biggest personal pet peeves is with the so-called “faith healers” we see on television and the kind of twisted doctrine they espouse and promote that infects countless numbers of people with a distorted view of the Gospel, of the subject of healing, and of God’s love and grace (as well as His attitude toward us, especially in our seasons of suffering and the very difficult things we sometimes have to battle with in our physical bodies on a daily basis). I have not met Melissa, but I want to say thanks for writing this article. I hope it encourages others. -Dave
In 1928 the famous faith-healer Aimee Semple McPherson, in long, white, flowing clothes, proclaimed to the residents of Muskegon, Michigan that she had enough faith to walk on water. With full confidence she stepped out…
…and fell right in. (“Unfortunately, the person who had been paid to submerge a row of pilings forgot” (Around Lake Michigan, 343).)
This humorous story is an interesting way to introduce a controversial topic. There are some who will say that in all likelihood Aimee was not a Christian and was corrupt, and not a typical faith-healer. There are others who would no doubt believe she was truly going to walk on water and whoever wrote this account was biased in believing she was going to have human help in her miracle — perhaps she just lacked faith at that present moment to walk on water, and had done it other times for real. There are still others who would believe Aimee was like all other faith-healers — duping people of their trust and their money. Just as this story and its account may appear to have more than one possibility, so does the subject of faith-healing overall.
The following is a great post by Chip Brogden. I was just talking about this subject with a friend the other day (as we were discussing the IHOP “International House Of Prayer” phenomenon)and then received Chip’s post via email. Great timing. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did. Be sure to check out Chip’s website too for more great articles and podcasts. –Dave
WHEN YOU PRAY
by Chip Brogden
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites… but when you pray, enter into your closet and pray in secret… and when you pray, do not use vain repetitions… after this manner therefore, pray… (Matthew 6:5-9ff).”
For too long we have practiced and preached prayer as a means towards our own ends. I am thinking of several popular teachings and books on the market today which make prayer out to be a ritual through which we can induce God to give us what we want. This philosophy gives us the illusion of a manageable deity, a “god” who is under our control, having no choice but to respond to a prayer properly worded or recited. A person of average intelligence should be able to see that this is a ridiculous caricature of God – it is a misrepresentation and a deception. The widespread popularity and success of these teachings should make us at least a little suspicious as to the spirit which prompts men to perpetuate it. It cannot be the Holy Spirit.
Jesus takes it for granted that His disciples will pray. This is why four times in a row He says, “WHEN you pray” and not “IF you pray.” But from these brief excerpts of Scripture we learn that there are at least two classes of prayer. One is unacceptable to God, and the other is well-pleasing to Him. One is of hypocrites, the other is of a pure heart. One is done openly to be seen of men, the other is hidden to be seen of God alone. One is nothing more than vain repetition to accomplish my own ends, and the other accomplishes God’s purpose.
Now if we pray the prayer of the hypocrite we are wasting our time. God will not respond, He will not move, He will not listen to such praying. That is not to say that someone (something?) will not answer this self-centered prayer: but the answer, when and if it comes, will not come from the Father in heaven. Much praying is done in vain because the one praying has never gone to the Word to investigate the kind of prayer that is well-pleasing to God. Just as there is a worship that is “spirit-and-truth” and there is a worship which is fleshly and vain, so there is a “spirit-and-truth” sort of praying and a flesh-and-blood praying which is done in vanity.
So by the grace of God we would like to look to the Lord to teach us to pray. Let us ask Him to show us the sort of praying that is acceptable to Him.
Introduction by Dave Y. of TruthForFree.com: The following article was written by Tom Riggle at the blog site revelife.com. I do not know Tom personally, but very much appreciated his exposition of the following passage of Scripture. Already, since the re-election of President Barack Obama, I have heard a number of pastors and Christians in general quoting 2 Chronicles 7:14 declaring that, if we will only pray, God must heal America. Now, while I strongly believe we ought to pray for our national leaders (and I do pray for this country and that God would show mercy), I must say that I agree with Tom’s article here; that there is a much more important revelation to consider, one of profound implications, and one we are totally missing when we misunderstand the meaning of a passage like this. Please give it a read and feel free to share your thoughts in response. –Dave
by Tom Riggle
A Promise God Never Made and A Prophetic Application Overlooked
First, the verse, 2 Chronicles 7:14:
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
This verse is, first of all — as it is often presented — a promise never made.
The implication of many American websites, sermons, books, posters, songs, and bumper-stickers is that if America, or the Christians in America, will seek God’s face then He will hear their prayer and heal our country. The reason why many misconstrue this verse as having special application for America and for her revival is that they take these words out of context, focusing instead on special words and phrases that can be reloaded with other meaning. Once the text is denatured and re-natured it comes out red-white-and-blue — and totally at odds with the context. The essential points of misunderstanding are these:
“My people” = Americans. Rational: Were we not a Christian nation?
“Called by My name” = Christians. Are we not called by Christ’s name?
“I.. will heal their land” = America. God will heal our country.
As I said, these applications are arrived at by seeing this verse as self-contained. One well-meaning pastor even makes this verse part of his “single, stand-alone Scripture series”! But to see any verse — especially one like the present — as stand-alone is a recipe for exegetical disaster. Context, always helpful for understanding.
Here’s a little quote for the day I’d like to share… My friend Deanna posted the following recently on her Facebook page. I really liked it and thought I’d pass it on. Short but sharply to the point. –Dave (TruthForFree.com)
Have you ever heard anyone use this phrase? “I go to church because I need to be fed”. My answer has always been this: Helen Keller was blind, deaf and mute and still she was taught to feed herself. Only baby birds eat regurgitated food. Stop eating another saints regurgitated revelations. The Father alone gives us our daily bread. When Jesus invites us to “Come Sup With Him”, He requires us to sit at the table like big boys and girls and feed ourselves. Go to church for fellowship, for encouragement or even for the music – but for God’s sake don’t go to be fed. My thoughts are this; if you have been following the Lord for 5 years or more and you’re still having someone feed you? You need a hospital and not a church.
Forwarding comments by Dave Y. of TruthForFree.com: I recently discovered the following article after researching some information related to the discussion that’s been going on in the Sozo post on this website. A few people have written me and chastised me for not supporting the mainstream excitement over “deliverance ministry” programs and tactics. Because of my personal opposition to so many of these methods and the mindset behind them, I have been accused of being anti-Holy Spirit or ignorant of spiritual truths. Ironically, the same folks who have made this accusation of me can never seem to point out a clear biblical defense for their own doctrine concerning deliverance… The reason, simply, is because their brand of deliverance really is not found in ANY example of Scripture! Despite my pointing out this important detail, I am said to be the ignorant one. So, when I happened across the following article, I decided I would post it for review. In preface I will only say that I do not know the author, nor am I familiar with all of his personally-held beliefs on various subjects related to Christianity; however, I very much appreciated his candid testimony of how he was so heavily involved in the business of so-called “deliverance ministry” for years, before the Lord opened his understanding as to why these kinds of distractions are generally a recipe for spiritual bondage rather than genuine freedom. I realize this article is very long, but some great points are made. If you are supporter of any of the popular mainstream deliverance programs bouncing around in the Christian community today, or if you have experienced questions about it, or sensed that something is not quite right about them, please take a few moments to examine the following testimony. As always, I encourage everyone to feel free to comment after the post and share any personal reactions to it. God bless!
In His grip,
Article by Chip Brogden
The following article is written by Chip Brogden and is also viewable on his excellent website (theschoolofchrist.org). My friend Annette sent me a copy of this via email recently and it was just awesome so I wanted to share it with everyone. I agree wholeheartedly with Chip’s conclusions and appreciate his putting it into words so eloquently. God bless!
My testimony is unique in that I really do not have a “testimony” in the sense of someone who has been delivered from drugs, alcohol, or atheism. I have been a Christian as long as I can remember. By the time I was 26 years old I had already spent half of my life in some kind of ministry – pastoring, teaching, preaching, or leading worship. I met my the girl (who later become my wife) in church when I was 12 years old, and once we were married our lives continued on in service to the church, together. It was our calling, and we dedicated our lives to it. So my testimony is not so much deliverance from sin as much as it is deliverence from religion and good works.
We had just come out of my first pastorate and were both very weary. With no responsibility to a local congregation I began to visit with other pastors to fill in for them as the need arose. Everywhere I went I listened to the stories told to me privately by burned-out ministers. In churches without a pastor I listened to the people describe all the terrible things the previous pastor has done. It didn’t take long for me to realize that something was terribly wrong with the “church” in general. I began to see that my personal experience as a burned-out pastor, which I thought was unusual, was not only common, but very light in comparison to what I was seeing and hearing.
So I began asking questions and challenging paradigms which I had held for most of my life. What is the Church? What is ministry? What is revival? Are we doing the right things? And more importantly, what does God think? Is what we’re doing pleasing to Him, or are we missing it in a big way? I realized I had devoted everything to one denomination, and knew very little about anything outside of it. As the Lord began to burden me for the entire Church, I began asking questions about denominationalism: is this right? Is this God’s purpose? What are we building here? What about the rest of the Body of Christ? Is division from the Lord?