There is an evil thing that is happening in the churches today. How grievous are the actions of the so-called church leaders and their followers. The ignorance of scripture is far to loud than the scripture itself. Deception has been well accepted above the truth. Self-centeredness is the topic in today’s pulpits far more than the message of being Christ-centered. Many pastors and prophets and self acclaimed apostles strive for worship and honor among the people and after attaining it, they use it to brainwash millions of believers to feed them and give them money with which they afford their lavished lifestyles. How they reduce God into a man’s equal, not only so, they go to such an extent as to suggest that God is a servant to men.
The True Disciples
Churches are full of the disciples of men rather than the disciples of Jesus Christ our Lord. The Lord said in John 8:31, “if ye continue in my words, then are ye disciples indeed” Here it is, if men will continue in the words of the Lord Jesus then they are his disciples. And this affirms the instruction of the Lord Jesus Christ to his disciples, Matthew 28: 19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Please note that Jesus didn’t say, “teaching them whatever you think is right” but he said, “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” Why? Because everything that Jesus commanded the disciples are His words and if they continue in the words of the Lord Jesus then they remain his disciples indeed.
The true disciples of Jesus Christ seek after His word, they seek only His will, to hear and to do it. They seek after his instruction so that they would not sin against Him. It is a sin to hear the word of God and not do it. Yes, it is a sin. All those who love Christ do keep His word with no reservations. What Jesus said matters more than what men says. These know that as Christ suffered so will they suffer persecution, as it is written “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also” (John 15:20) and also “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him” (John 13:16). They are ready to do anything in obedience toJesus Christ their Savior who died and rose from dead. They perfectly understand what the Master said, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). The center of attention in the true disciple”s life is Jesus Christ, because “…he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:15). They can truly say, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
These are they that deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Jesus (Luke 9:23). They believe every word that Jesus taught and seek to understand every single one of his parable. They are willing to lose their lives for the sake of the gospel. They are not only hearers and preachers of the word by they are also doers of the word of God. They purify themselves daily from all iniquity and idolatry and from such things as the Lord hates. These are hated by the world and the rest of the false believers.
A large number of churched individuals are not the disciples of Jesus Christ but are that of men and women. They meditate on the words of men rather than that of Christ. Some are the disciples of Rhonda Byrne (the author of The Secret. A large percentage of the teachings from the prosperity preachers are based on her teachings. Some are disciples of Oprah Winfrey, some are disciples of political and public figures. They prefer to discard the words of Jesus Christ in order to follow the teachings of men or women.
I have met with many individuals who claim to be believers and followers of Christ and yet fail to prove it to me or even to themselves. It appears as though quite a substantial number of people seek to be associated with believers or Christians even though they either do not know what being a believer entail, or are not prepared to be believers at all, for various reasons. Many people believe that going to church makes one a christian and some believe that praying at night or before they sleep is enough to convince their conscience that they are believers. Some believe that saying a “prayer” after some preacher is a sign of being born again and ultimately salvation. Nothing could be further from the truth.
One must be convicted in his or her heart by the Holy Spirit, touching sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8-11). No one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3). I know that a lot of people say Jesus is Lord without the Holy Spirit , simply because the phrase “Jesus is Lord” can be said by anyone. What this verse shows us is no one can be convicted in their heart that “Jesus is Lord” except the Holy Spirit works in the their heart. Paul writes in Roman 10:9 “…if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” No one can truly be convinced and dare to die for that Jesus died and rose from the dead except the Holy Spirit convict such a person. The Holy Spirit convicts us of that we are sinners and that we deserve hell yet at the same time convicts us of that Christ died for us, all our debts to pay upon the cross of Calvary. He convinces us that Christ did overcome both sin and death; that we can now trust in Him for the remission and forgiveness of sins. “And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:15)
Confession of that Jesus is Lord is a result of a work done by the Holy Spirit in the heart of an individual. As Jesus said, “...for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Matthew 12:34). Therefore saying a “prayer” that is led by some pastor is not a guarantee that a person is truly saved or that they believe. One can only make a heart-felt confession when the heart is convicted and believes, as it is written, “I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted:” (Psalm 116:10, 2 Corinthians 4:13). Any man who have not been convicted by the Holy Spirit touching sin, the same has no ability to draw near to the foot of the cross and cry out to God for salvation. If he were to join a church and minister therein, he will remain a false disciple.
Such false disciples are found on every congregation in the world, one of the well known is Judas Iscariot. Among the believers of the book of Acts, one of these was Simon:
Acts 8:9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: 10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. 11 And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. 12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.”
Simon believed and was baptized, scripture also records that he “wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done” Simon wasn’t interested in Jesus Christ but to the miracles that were done the name of Jesus Christ. I would believe that since he was a magician and did perform lying wonders and had great fame in the land, the arrival of Philip, his preaching and the miracles that were done by him seemed to pose a threat to Simon’s reputation. He could have joined in as a Christian, only to be associated with Philip and those that called upon the name of the Lord out of a pure heart. When he saw people receiving the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands of the apostles, he offered them money to so that they might give them the Holy Spirit. he wanted to continue in his life of fame and honor among the people, until he was rebuked by Peter.
The Churches of God must be alert and watchful of such false converts, because out of them comes false teachers and false prophets who love not the Lord Jesus Christ. Such men justify every wicked and unscriptural practice, basing their doctrine upon the will of men and the wisdom of this world which is enmity to God. They misrepresent the love of God to lure sinners into their church buildings but at the end make them a thousand times more evil than before. Let us therefore, brethren, contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3)