TSD 12 – RICH PASTORS IN POOR CONGREGATIONS
By Lungisa N Joctrey
WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT TODAY?
Today’s Topic: RICH PASTORS IN POOR CONGREGATIONS.
Should Pastors be rich at the very expense of their congregations? Is it morally right for the pastor to enjoy wealth while his following live in poverty?
I will answer these questions from scripture and by scripture I mean the Authorized Version, better known as the King James Version, 1611. All I ask from you is to lend me a few minutes of your time.
I must first state that I am a born again Christian. I believe on the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of the living God and that there is no salvation apart from Him. I believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, grew and lived a sinless life before God His Father and before men. He was betrayed to the Jewish counsel by Judas Iscariot and was brought before Caiaphas the high priest. He was then brought to Pilate the Romish governor who found no fault in Him yet for the fear of men, authorized His crucifixion. Jesus Christ was crucified and died for the sins of men in all generations and was buried. He was raised to life the third day. After His resurrection, He was seen by Cephas, then the twelve. After that He was seen by over 500 brethren at the same time. After that He was seen of James, then by all the apostles and lastly He was seen by Paul of Tarsus.
I believe in the triune God, who is self existent. He exists as The Father, The Word and The Holy Ghost. I hold to that Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh and that He is the Son of God by whom we all who believe are justified and saved.
Friends, allow me to draw your attention to the second letter written by Paul to the church of Corinth, chapter 8, the 9th verse “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”
Now we should be very careful as to how we interpret this scripture. We must ask ourselves this question, Was Jesus Christ physically rich in that He became physically poor so that we can be physically rich? Or was He spiritually rich in that He was spiritually poor that we may be spiritually rich? We shall examine the scripture now in order to understand the verse at hand.
HOW RICH WAS JESUS CHRIST BEFORE HE CAME TO THE WORLD
First we look at John 1:1-3, 14
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made… And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
Friends, in this passage we are told of the true nature of Jesus Christ. The scripture says that “the Word was with God and the Word was God” and then we are told that “All things were made by Him” This Word must be very powerful if everything couldn’t exist apart from Him. He must be very rich spiritually in that He could afford to make all these things. He must hold much authority over His creation seeing that He was God. The Scripture reads, “In the beginning was the Word.” This is telling us that the Word existed before the beginning. These words are not telling us about the beginning of the days of the Word but they tell us about the beginning of His work. If in the beginning He was, then He must have been outside the beginning. In fact, in Revelation 22:12-13 Jesus Christ says “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” He says “I am Alpha and Omega, The beginning and the End, the First and the Last” Now if Christ says, “I am the beginning” then He must be eternal. He is not saying “I am a beginning” as if there is another beginning but He says “I am THE beginning,” showing that He is absolutely the only beginning there is to know.
He holds absolute pre-eminence over all things, in heaven, on earth and under the earth. He is God the LORD. The Psalmist says “The earth is the LORD’S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” (Psalm 24:1) The LORD GOD owns not just the earth but He owns everything in it. The world and they dwell in it. The earth trembles at His voice and all of creation testifies of His goodness. God is extremely wealthy both in the spiritual and physical sense. He rules every realm the spiritual and physical. Again the Psalmist couldn’t resist telling us of God. He says, “The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moveso.” (Psalm 93:1). And again He says “Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:” How rich is God? Our minds cannot grasp the true riches laid up in the store houses of God.
Paul proclaimed to the Athenians
“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;” (Acts 17:24-26)
Paul was not ashamed to tell those Stoicks and Epicureans that God did not need anything but that God was the one that gave life, breath and all things. Not only that, he shows them that God made all nations in one blood and decided as to where they should live. With that being said, we learn that Jesus Christ who is the Word made flesh, is the one that give life to all men, animals and plants because He is God and we already know that the “Word was God.” Pauls tells the Colossians in his letter as to how exalted, how powerful and how rich Christ is. He says “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” (Colossians 1:15-17) Paul says that all things were made by the Son of God and for the Son of God. So everything and anything, whatever it is, belongs to the Son of God.
The author of the letter to the Hebrews says that the Son of God is above all things including the angels. We see this in Hebrews 1
“Who [The Son of God] being the brightness of his [God’s] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. ” (Hebrews 1:3-6)
All the angels of God are commanded to worship this Son of God. As we hear him in verse 7 saying “And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.” (Hebrews 1:7)
“But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.” (Hebrews 1:8-12) (Xref: Psalm 45:6-7 & 102:25-27)
All these scripture verses are showing us that the Son of God is God and that He has all power over everything. Psalm 36:9 “For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.” Jesus Christ says “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;”
HOW POOR DID CHRIST BECOME?
Looking at this question there’s one Scripture that comes to mind and that is Philippians 2:5-11. Let us read it.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)
I would like us to start examining this passage from the sixth verse. As we have established that God was and is very rich, the apostle Paul is showing us that Christ was in the form of God. He was equal with God and yet was willing to give up all the glories, the wealth and honour of being on the seat of God his Father. He thought it not robbery to be equal with God. He did not esteem it much to be equal with God, which now brings us to verse 7, “He made Himself of no reputation” When all creatures in heaven submitted to Him, He lowered himself, far too lower than they. He became lower than the angels. As the Psalmist records, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” (Psalms 8:4-5) and the writer to the Hebrews says “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” (Hebrew 2:9
Friends, I submitted to you that Adam the first man was just a creature who was given instruction to have dominion on the earth and subdue it, however, it was not for him to own the earth. Adam was always depending on God for life and provision. Whether Adam served God or not his life would always come from God lest he dies. Even when he was cast out of the Garden of Eden, Adam lived at God’s mercy for at anytime God could take His breath of life from a man and man would become dust. Adam was not rich apart from God. He didn’t have life by himself. He was never above the angels of God. He couldn’t command any of the angels because the angels move at the word of God. Scripturally, angels rank higher than men in the grand scheme of things. The Scripture tell us that a man was made a “little lower than the angels.”
So, the Son of God Jesus Christ, He made Himself of no reputation and took the form of a poor creature. A creature that live for to die, having not life in itself except that poor spark which will soon go out and the body goes back into being dust as it was. He comes in as a baby weak and vulnerable. He couldn’t even fight for himself. He relied on His parents to flee to Egypt because Herod wanted to kill Him. He had to learn obedience and to live a like a human being. Yet He sinned not. He was limited in a human body, having to be in one place at one time.
He had to get orders from the Father instead of just doing what he felt was right. He submitted himself to Moses and the prophets. He was so humble to the point that He knelt on the ground like a slave and washed the feet of His disciples. At the end He submitted Himself to the chief priests and to the Roman governor Pilate. When He finally died, He died not the death of a King but of a wicked hell deserving man when He had done no evil. He suffered the Wrath of the Almighty God His Father, which wrath was scheduled to fall upon the poor wicked wretched sinful and hell deserving men. He suffered under the heavy hand of God Almighty. He had to cry like a condemned sinner, “Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani?…My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?” He became poor, that through His poverty we may be rich.
The Lord Jesus Christ came to earth as a poor man, born in a booth instead of a palace. His cradle was a manger. He grew up as the son of a carpenter. He was not of high esteem among those of his neighbourhood. He wasn’t famous until He started His ministry. Even then He was despised by those who held high offices in the religious circles of his land. He found audience among sinners, the despised and hated.
I once heard Creflo Dollar arguing that Jesus Christ had a treasure bag and for that reason he concluded that Jesus could have been rich.
There are questions I would like to have Mr Dollar and his friends to answer.
1) If Jesus Christ was very rich materially, why is it that when He asked his disciples to feed the people, Phillip answer and said, “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.” (John 6:7) Were they not supposed to have more than enough cash to their disposal?
2) When a man said to the Lord Jesus, “Master I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest” Jesus replied “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20, Luke 9:58) If Jesus was materially rich, wouldn’t He have had a mansion or two?
3) If Jesus was materially rich, why did He need a miracle in order to pay tribute? See Matthew 17:24-27
I could ask some more questions but time is failing me. When we read the gospels, we noticed that Christ and his disciples weren’t filthy rich. The Lord Jesus discouraged the people who wanted to lay up riches on earth. We hear Him saying “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
Here is a discourse between Jesus and a young rich man, “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:16-24, Mark 10:17-23)
Paul warned Timothy of the preachers that deceive the people of God, telling them that physical wealth is godliness.
“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 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. 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. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:3-12)
The Lord Jesus warns the rich and a compromising church of Laodicea, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Revelation 3:15-19)
He tells this church that thought it has a name of being rich, the truth is it is poor. He tells it that it is neither hot nor cold. So unless He spews it out, He calls it to repent and acquire true riches from Him.
It is therefore evil that the Pastors would be filthy rich while their members live in poverty. The prosperity gospel is the message of crooks. It is not the gospel at all. I pray that God would open your eyes if you are caught up in this deception. Christ warns the rich, He says “But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.”(Luke 6:24)
We Are Now on iTunes
We are pleased to announce that The SpokesDude Podcast is now live in the iTunes. It was very difficult to make this a possibility since I have no technical background and iTunes minimum requirements were not easy to meet for someone that doesn’t know anything about RSS Feeds let alone having a feed that meets the 2.0 specification, whatever that is.
I thank God for the guy who came up with Google because when all else fails there would always be Google who will march in like a knight in shining armour and save the day.
Before I started making the recordings for The SpokesDude Podcast, I had to go to Google and search for information about podcasting. That is where found a number of Podcasts and one that stood out for me was one hosted by Cliff Ravenscraft which is called PodcastAnswerMan.com. On Cliff’s podcast episodes I noticed that the sound quality and the level of professionalism throughout the show were incredibly good. These two factors made me what to stream or download some more of his podcast episodes. As I listened to his shows I began to feel as if I know him even though I knew deep down in my heart that I would probably never meet him. So, I was convinced that I would learn a lot from him in order get my podcast launched.
John Lee Dumas
Now, as I kept on searching for more information on podcasts and podcasting I came across a podcast hosted by John Lee Dumas, which is called Entrepreneurs On Fire you can check it out on EOFire.com. As I listened to John Lee Dumas I could pick up that he once took Cliff Ravenscraft’s Podcasting A-Z Course and was surprised that John knew Cliff. So since I have grown to trust Cliff Ravenscraft’s opinion on podcasting, I felt that I can trust John Lee Dumas as well.
John offered a Free Podcast Course that had 20 lessons, all of them about podcasting. I wasted no time at all. I started downloading every one of those free lessons and began to listen to each one of them. There was a lesson that had an assignment, where I had to ask my friends and family, and some people who know me as to how they thought my passions were. This was to help me realise my Zone of Genius. My definition of the Zone of Genius is: It’s that specific thing I had already been doing and was very good at, that subject I would talk about for hours without fail. It’s that topic I couldn’t end the day without thinking or talking about.
When I took John’s Free Podcast Course I had already began to record and publish podcast episodes. I used Archive.org as my media host and then took the direct links to my mp3 files and put them on The SpokesDude blog so that I can easily promote them. The problem was, on archive.org I had placed my files for The Spokesdude on the folder called “The Spokesdude Episodes.” I did this to prevent myself from typing the same information over and over again when ever uploading a SpokesDude Podcast file. This made it hard for me to track the download rate of each file.
That problem made it me wish to submit my podcast over to iTunes. I searched on Google for ways available for me to have The SpokesDude Podcast submitted over to iTunes and as you’ve guessed it…I found it. The only problem I faced was getting an acceptable RSS feed for iTunes. I tried using an application called “RSSOwl” which wasn’t successful on iTunes but did well on Sticher.com… So I laid the iTunes thing off for some weeks until I decided to change my artwork for my future podcast episodes and have its resolution set to 1400×1400 pixels because iTunes requirements for artworks is between 1400 x1400 and 3000×3000 pixels. Once I had my artwork ready I started changing the colour theme of The SpokesDude blog to match the colours of the artwork and I set the artwork as the logo of my blog.
After many failed attempts to get a good feed, I remembered a word spoken by Cliff Ravenscraft, which was Feedburner. I had no clue what Feedburner was so I consulted Google and I found Feedburner and I logged in using my Google account. That’s where the fun began. I supplied the information that was required to get my feed ready and in no time I had a URL for my podcast’s feed which I tried out on iTunes and it worked. In less than 24 hours, I received and email telling me that The SpokesDude Podcast was approved.
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