Prophets And Pastors Of Profit-$$$
by Van Robison
Many Christians, even though with innocent intentions, are very gullible, naive, and even childish in the fact that they have no discernment about wolves in sheep's clothing. All too often, seekers of God are falling prey to celebrity personalities, and they swoon over famous name preachers for no other reason than these individuals have a lofty title such as "senior pastor", "prophet", "prophetess", "evangelist", "reverend", "doctor", "bishop", or some other clergy name. Those titles in themselves mean absolutely nothing, but many Christians think that anyone who has such a title is: somehow "important", above the common person, especially anointed, has authority over the sheep, and is Jesus Christ ordained.
That is far from the truth, and Jesus himself warns in Matthew 24:4-5 "Take heed that no man deceive you. For MANY shall come in my name, saying I am Christ; AND SHALL DECEIVE MANY." And Jesus also said in Matthew 7:15, "BEWARE of FALSE prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." It is natural for all false preachers and prophets to proclaim that they are not the wolves, and that is because they are paid hirelings.
Are preachers, pastors, prophets, bishops, teachers, doctors, and "professional" clergy to be believed for no other reason than that they have a lofty title attached to their name? Are they to be believed for no other reason than that they are "senior pastors" of megachurches? Are they to be believed for no other reason than that they have a charismatic personality, they are gifted public speakers, or they prance back and forth in front of a television camera? Are they to be believed because they have a bombastic personality, can shout loudly, and can make the audience laugh or cry? Are they to be believed for no other reason than that they have a church building that costs millions of dollars, and seats many thousands of people? Are they to be believed because they can quote scripture? For those Christians who read the Bible for themselves, it is well known that even Satan quotes scriptures, and in fact Satan quoted scriptures to Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:1-11). Satan also comes as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). He comes wearing a mask--sheep's clothing. He may even be wearing a suit and tie, long robes, a priestly neck collar, and take in millions of dollars annually.
Virtually none of the above attributes in themselves qualify anyone as representatives of Jesus Christ. Any human being can proclaim self important titles, shout loudly, act like they have authority, quote scriptures, make millions of dollars in ministry, and still be a deceiver. The first person deceived is the deceiver. The second person deceived is anyone who follows the false preachers and prophets. To many who listen to and attend the churches of famous name preachers, it is unthinkable that their "shepherd" could be a fraud, a fake, and in disfavor with Jesus Christ. So how does anyone know if the megachurch, tiny church, or medium sized church they sit in is founded by Jesus Christ or by someone in sheep's attire, who is inwardly a ravening wolf? Is your church or church pastor sanctioned by Jesus Christ just because it is called a "church", or just because it has stained glass windows in it, or just because it is lined with pews, or because it has a steeple on top, or because your "pastor" says he is a "pastor" and can prove it because he or she has a piece of paper that says they are "ordained to the office of pastor"?
Jesus Christ answers this question very clearly by everything He taught, and by everything He said which is recorded in the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. If it was a sin or rebellion to question the credibility of pastors, senior pastors, evangelists, prophets, prophetesses, apostles, bishops, and "professional" clergy, then how would any Christian know the difference between the genuine and the false? How would anyone who professes Jesus Christ really know if they are following Jesus Christ or following men and women who make merchandise of the gullible? Jesus made this very simple for the discerning by saying, "By their fruit you shall know them."
The following are points that DO NOT guarantee that the person or organization necessarily represents Jesus Christ:
Christian television ministry.
Title of pastor.
Title of senior pastor.
Title of apostle.
Title of prophet.
Title of prophetess.
Title of bishop
Title of evangelist.
Title of missionary.
Head of megachurch.
Head of any church.
Owner of some Christian organization.
Gifted public speaker.
Multi-million dollar church building.
Multi-million dollar ministry.
Preacher who lives in a million dollar or multi-million dollar home.
Preacher who owes a jet airplane.
Preacher who has camp meetings.
Preacher who conducts "revivals".
Preacher who lives on tithes and offerings and seed money.
Preacher who can quote scriptures.
Bible school, college, or seminary.
Temples, cathedrals, church buildings.
While the above points may look good, smell good, and seem right, none of those points are a guarantee that Jesus Christ is represented, even though the name of Jesus Christ is used profusely by all those who represent those issues.
The following are points that Jesus Christ taught by which to gauge truth, discern truth, and to know truth:
"My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:27)
"...I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)
"But the hour comes, and now is, when the TRUE WORSHIPERS shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:23-24)
"Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them." (Matthew 7:20)
"Behold, I send you forth as sheep IN THE MIDST OF WOLVES; BE you therefore WISE as serpents, and harmless as doves." (Matthew 10:16)
"Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Mark 7:7)
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. HE SHALL GLORIFY ME..." (John 16:13-14)
"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. YOU CANNOT SERVE GOD and MAMMON." (Matthew 6:24) [Mammon is deceitful riches, money, possessions, or whatever is trusted in--Amplified Bible.]
The teachings and the role model which Jesus Christ vividly modeled is the measure by which all human beings, and all ministries are to be evaluated against. Virtually nothing established by men is an automatic guarantee of truth. Titles, money, position, assumed authority, charismatic personality, celebrity status, wealth, church buildings, authoring books that sell millions, or many other things are not the standard by which truth is judged. A ten million dollar or a hundred million dollar a year ministry is no guarantee of truth in Jesus Christ. Material success is no measure of the approval of Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 2:1 "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as THERE SHALL BE FALSE TEACHERS AMONG YOU... (3) And through covetousness shall they with feigned words MAKE MERCHANDISE OF YOU..." 1 Timothy 6:5 "...supposing that gain is godliness; from such withdraw yourself. (8) And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. (9) But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. (10) For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (11) But you O man of God, FLEE THESE THINGS; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness."
There is ONLY ONE HEAD of the BODY. There is ONLY ONE JESUS CHRIST. There is ONLY ONE HOLY SPIRIT.
And the prophets and pastors of profits-$$$ are not it.
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