In Matthew 7:21-23 we read these words: “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Behold we have a new perverted ‘Gospel’. It is not based on “Thy will be done” but “my will be done”! It is important to know that the ministry of Jesus Christ was centred on following God’s will. The Lord’s ministry was never about fulfilling his ambition. The Lord was always concerned about fulfilling his father’s will: “Verily, verily, I say unto you”, he said, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do” (Joh.5:19). Paul admonished believers saying, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col.3:2-3).
A Gospel with a new agenda
The modern perverted Gospel has a different agenda. The agenda is not heavenward; it is a worldly agenda! The agenda attempts to put the will of man at the center of God’s programme. When you closely look at it however, it is not difficult to see that it has never been God’s programme; it has been man’s ambitious programme masquerading as a divine programme!
The new Gospel excites people to discover their ‘self’ and encourages them to enforce their desires with a strong will. It emphasizes that “where there is a will there is a way!” The “way” being spoken of is not that of the Lord but what a person’s mind can conceive. The new Gospel is all about having confidence in yourself. It is so contrary to the true Gospel of Christ which requires that we “worship God in the spirit…and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phi.3:3). The true Gospel of Christ is not about gain but loss. Like Paul testified, “what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ” (Col.3:7).
The true Gospel is about seeking spiritual things; it’s about seeking God and asking, ‘Where is the Lord?’ It’s about seeking God whilst he may be found, before the Grace period runs out! “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near” the Spirit said through Isaiah; “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa.55:6-9). Yes, a true believer’s way of life is to forsake his way and thoughts and seek the “higher” thoughts of God. But beware, it has always been Satan’s tactic to make people afraid of seeking God’s way. Such believers get trapped in the fear of thinking that God’s way may not be so pleasant. However, those who have tasted God’s good will know the truthfulness of this promise of God: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jer.29:11-13).
Enemies of the Cross
Although many self-acclaimed modern apostles and prophets claim to be in the ministry of winning souls for Christ, it only takes a little discernment for anyone to see that they are actually in business! Like apostle Paul warned in his letter to the Philippians, their true God is their belly and their focus is on earthly things – “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things” (Phi.3:18-19). And yes, they glory in things that true saints consider to be shameful. But why should someone glory in a shameful thing? Well, when a mind gets seared with a hot iron of deceit, no decency is left in it (1 Tim.4:2).
Making merchandise of people
Apostle Peter once gave a strong warning about false prophets and teachers who would arise in the future. Today we see all his words fulfilling before us, especially in charismatic churches. Here is the prophetic message Peter gave: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not” (2 Pet.2:1-2).
Note the following important words Peter used:
- Pernicious: Being pernicious means “having a harmful effect, especially in a gradual or subtle way.”
Isn’t that exactly what has happened to Christianity? In a gradual manner wrong practices, moral decadence, and deceptive doctrines entered the church. It started with someone saying, “It’s the heart which matters and not how we dress outwardly” and before we knew it women now dress tight and revealing outfits in churches. In a gradual manner Gospel music started adopting worldly rhythms until the good old time spiritual hymns got replaced with boogie woogie and Rock n’ Roll! And talking about preachers, they quote Malachi 3:8 to warn people about the importance of giving to the Lord when it’s really about their pleasures that poor people in a congregation are financing! Talk of being subtle! Their deception is causing people of the world to despise and insult what should be sacred things of God.
- Covetousness: To be covetous is to have a great desire to possess something which belongs to someone else.
When you look at the opulent lifestyles of many modern preachers, you will see that they are trying to acquire the status of certain famous people. They want to dress, talk, and be guarded like some big person. They crave for importance. These same preachers also have their juniors under them who want to behave and dress just like them. It’s a whole brood of vipers characterized by a deep thirst for wealth, pride and prominence.
- Feigned words: To feign is to “pretend to be affected by a feeling, state, or injury”. A feigned word is one which is “artificial” or “fictitious”!
Isn’t that what we often see when a charismatic preacher adds drama to his voice when trying to show that he is speaking under the anointing? The preacher may scream, jump or utter words in an emotional tone to act as though they are being prompted by the Spirit of God. That is feigning! It’s all meant to manipulate people’s emotions to yield to the preacher’s plea. In reality the animal on the pulpit is nothing more than a sensational actor.
- Merchandise: Merchandise refers to “goods to be bought and sold”.
That is what people in congregations of prosperity preachers have been reduced to! Nigerians have become very good at this. They market their false prophecies and miracles so well to attract crowds. When foreign visitors go to their ‘mega’ churches, there is a restaurant owned by the church that the visitor has to go to; there is a book written by “papa” to be bought; there is anointing oil or holy water to be bought. Oh, what a sham!
The selling of the so-called ‘anointing oil’ or ‘holy water’ has become widespread in Africa. People are paraded to give testimonies of what the oil did for them. Unknown to most ignorant people is the fact that those testimonies are meant to translate to more sales of the ‘miracle products’. Talk of marketing skills in charismatic churches! It’s a whole new fraudulent industry. Listen, any preacher who begs for money for his ministry is not called of God! When God calls a person he raises people who will give out of their own free will to support the ministry. No true ministry of God emphasises on giving. True ministers proclaim and teach the Gospel of the kingdom and God takes care of the rest.
Well, in all this confusion we are comforted to know that what God offers is free; it is without money and without price!