by Paul Benson
At times the Lord speaks to me quite strongly through giving me images in my mind, and then placing great emphasis upon those images. He once gave me the shocking image of a deviate spastic woman in a wheelchair (The Spastic Harlot); and then shared with me the grief of his heart with a sad realization the image of that woman’s defiled and spastic body (impure and not under the control of it’s head) was his view of American Christianity! That image still weighs upon me, and breaks my heart to this very day.
On another occasion I kept getting this picture of a dejected Christmas stocking, emptied of all the precious contents that had in recent days made it an object of fascination, now laying amort among the colorful trash that straws the floor of most living-rooms on Christmas morning. Having lost its appeal this sad stocking was cast aside; thrown to the floor like a piece of refuse. For some reason the image of this empty stocking laying on the floor seemed to fill me with great sadness and remorse.
How much sadder yet to receive from the Holy Spirit the insight that this living-room, whose floor was so cluttered with the flashy (but now shredded) trappings and trimmings of Holiday festivity, was the American Church; and that discarded stocking was the precious Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ! Let’s explore that thought a bit, and I think maybe you will agree with my sentiment.
And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Isaiah 59:14
I don’t know about you but I have had it up to here (hand waving high above my head) with folks stuffing things down my gullet that are not from the Bible, and promising me: ‘This is what the Bible teaches!’ At times I could literally scream: ‘Shut your stinking mouth you bunch of lying deceivers!’ But usually I don’t (although on occasion someone does get an earful).
Instead I normally try to encourage folks to become familiar with the Scriptures, accepting only what truths are plainly and clearly stated therein; and also to be very wary of theories and suppositions which have little or no Bible to back them up. Without clear Biblical foundation any theory (no matter how scholarly or widely accepted) is just a theory. And many of the most popular theories floating around Christianity today are truly doctrines of devils being pawned off as Bible teaching!
Although the preaching of the Gospel is a sacred calling and a divine privilege, many deceivers use the basic framework of Bible truth as a vehicle to deliver their wayward doctrines and theories. A strong measure of truth is presented to make palatable the poison of error; and through this unholy mixture the precious truth of God’s Word gets turned into a lie. The undiscerning swallow this poison unaware of the damage being done to their understanding; and thus many are lured away from the truth (and therefor away from Christ who IS the truth)!
Stuffing The Stocking!
Some (or should I say MOST) preachers today treat the presentation of God’s Word like a Christmas Stocking that they stuff full of trinkets and treats. They embellish the Gospel with a myriad of goodies in a foolish attempt to make the message more appealing; and to garner greater attendance to their services and programs. A church building strategy that is nothing short of carnal reasoning gone to seed.
Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. 37 Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way. Psalms 119:36-37
Many others utilize the tactic of aggrandizing the Gospel with fantastical extra-biblical yarns to entertain and distract while they fleece the flock. (YES, I AM talking about those popular preachers and prognosticators you look to for your daily WOW!) The fact that so many charge others for their ‘revelations’ and ‘speaking engagements’, rather than obey the command of Jesus to freely give what we have freely received, belies their claim to be ministering on behalf of Christ. They are actually nothing more than hucksters and hirelings!
Shame on them!
But few in the Body of Christ seem much bothered by this merchandising of the Gospel. My how readily we excuse the covetousness of those who so aptly entertain us.
Shame on us; as well as them!
But what is a greater shame is the way we set aside and neglect the core message of the Gospel they use to ferry their folly. What happens to a Christmas stocking after the goods are emptied out of it? The child tosses it to the floor; as it has now lost its attraction. We live in a generation where the Gospel message is treated in a very similar fashion!
When we are finished consuming all these ‘hidden truths’ and ‘new revelations’ the Gospel has been stuffed with to tickle our ears and titillate our senses do we then spend any time with a focus upon the Cross of Christ? Or the glory of what was accomplished for us that day? Or does the Gospel message now, without all the added frills and thrills, become like an empty Christmas stocking which no longer holds our interest and gets lain aside? Tell me now will you please? Am I talking truth or turkey here?
The Simplicity Of The Gospel!
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. 2Corinthians 11:3-4
Paul had a deep seated concern that some would come along with another Jesus (other than the genuine living Christ who had revealed himself to Paul, and whom Paul had preached) and corrupt the faith of those he had ministered to. The danger? Another spirit bringing another gospel! A polluted expression of ministry that would lead folks away from the simplicity of the message of the Cross, his Resurrection, and the soon Return of our Christ to judge this world.
Modern Christianity is completely over-run with such polluted expressions of ministry! And thus we see so very little mention of the Cross of Christ, the power of his Blood, or the glory of his Return in most preaching today. The varying scripts of this contaminated gospel are nearly without number, but all have the same end result: a steering away from the simplicity that is in Christ.
And thus, truth lays fallen in our streets!
Shame upon them for their pollution of the Gospel; and shame upon us for so willingly ingesting that pollution. Not to mention that we actually pay for it!
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Colossians 2:8
Definition of spoil: – diminish or destroy the value or quality of, harm the character of (someone, especially a child) by being too lenient or indulgent. – Oxford Dictionary
Again Paul warns against letting man’s wisdom, his traditions, or his empty doctrines of deceit spoil your walk of faith. He was warning: Don’t let man’s carnally minded doctrines, or any lifeless and deceiving fables, distract you or come between you and your God! How sad that so much of what claims to be Christian religion will actually steer you away from the truth rather than encourage you to seek out and embrace it. Religious truth and God’s truth are by no means synonymous! We need to be ever wary of that danger.
And we need to understand the solid correlation between submitting to the Lordship of Christ and submitting to the true teachings of the Word of God. The two are inseparable. To turn your ears away from the truth and unto the teachings of man, or to be side-tracked by any extra-biblical fables, can take your focus off the truth and turn your heart away from serving Christ. The danger is that real! Satan has a definite purpose in all these deceits and distractions; and that is to spoil your walk with Christ!
And if we must willfully ignore plainly stated truths in the Bible, to embrace theories and theologies of man that are contradictory to God’s truth, that is the same as rejecting Christ and serving another master!
We become followers of man instead of followers of Jesus.
If we are following after fables we are not following after the truth. You cannot chase two rabbits at the same time if they are not going in the same direction! You have to make a decision which one you are going to follow: the wisdom of man or the wisdom of God.
If you cannot discern the difference between the two you are nothing more than a ship adrift without a rudder or compass. You are lost! That discernment is a gift from God; but it takes a hunger and thirst for righteousness and truth for that discernment to flow in a person’s life and keep them from following a false way.
And when the Church becomes so overwhelmed with enticements and entertainments that her focus strays that discernment no longer flows in her midst.
I wonder what it’s going to take to get the American Church to lay aside her delusions and distractions? To get her to lose her appetite for fluff and frivolity, and develop a hunger and love for only the truth of God’s holy Word? Possibly a time of great chastisement and purging? Possibly a time of great tribulation? I believe so.
There is judgment coming folks!
Upon this nation in general; as well as the Church in particular! The Bride is not ready! Her garment is not without spot, wrinkle, or blemish. Once again the Lord brings the Scripture to mind:
For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. 1Corinthians 11:31
I think it’s high time we stopped stuffing Scripture and started preaching Scripture! To the Church, as well as the world! The world needs to hear the message of the Cross; and the filthy and backslid American Church is in serious need of some serious preaching on repentance and holiness. But they are never going to hear it if we are spending all our time either stuffing Scripture with fancy myths and fables, or consuming the stuffed Scripture prepared for us by others. We need to repent of this nonsense!
Why is it we hear so very little preaching on the simple truth that people need to repent, turn from their sin, and submit to the grace of God that comes through faith in the Cross of Christ? Why do so many forgo preaching the Cross; and preach anything and everything instead? Why is that? Perhaps the answer lays in the fact that the simple truth of the Gospel brings forth a convicting power that brings on much persecution; whereas entertaining folks with cleaver fables and flashy falsehoods can bring in much revenue?
Could that be the reason?
Just what master are we serving anyway; God or mammon? Some times I seriously wonder why God’s judgment hasn’t breached forth upon American Christianity already. But it IS coming!
Let’s return to the message that brings forth life! The Bible says that life is in the Blood!
For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Leviticus 17:11
Brothers and sisters, can we PLEASE get back to the Gospel that Christ gave to his Apostles to give to the world? It’s about the Cross. It’s about the Blood. It’s about salvation and damnation. It’s about repentance and submission to the will of God. It’s about JESUS!
And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. 1John 5:20
Let’s stop stuffing the Gospel full of trinkets and treasures to entertain the Church and woo the world; and get back to preaching Jesus! That is the message that brings forth life!
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