The Humble Preacher
Approx. 33 A.D. Circa 2000 A.D.
There is an amazing contrast from the elevated church-stage pulpit ministry of today and Jesus.
As Jesus achieved some fame they sought to kill him. But the suited Sunday orators bear little to no resemblance to the meek and humble Jesus Christ of Scripture. A popular, author-pastor literally filled Dodger Stadium in Las Angeles in April 2010.
The temptation of Jesus bears mention: Mt.4:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple..."
Note the devil took Jesus to the high place in God's temple that his disciples described in: Mark 13:1 - And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!"
Sound familiar? You see, Jesus could have cast himself down to serve an earthly religious structure that men are admiring of; it was not deliverance from the temptation of suicide that was being offerred.. And every time His disciples or followers tried to take him and promote Him in the eyes of man, Jesus hid Himself. John 6:15 - When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.."
Rather than seeking fame and a large "ministry", Jesus did not practice the self-promotion so commonly practiced in the church world. Even His own family urged Him to advertise and promote His ministry!!
John 7:3 His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. John 7:4 For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world."
That's right, Virginia, His carnal "brethren" were all for Jesus using worldly means to promote His "message. Why did they think in terms of using worldly promotion? The next verse gives the truth: "For neither did his brethren believe in him."
-And neither do these Christian self-promoters with their body guards, "faith partners", telethons, appeals for support, and laying up of their treasures here on earth contrary to what Jesus spoke. They are preaching "another Jesus" as Paul warned.
Matthew 8:4 - And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
Mark 7:36 - And he charged them that they should tell no man
Mark 8:26 - And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.
Mark 8:30 - And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.
Mark 9:9 - And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead.
Luke 8:56 - And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.
Compare the present day famous, successful, kingdom-building representatives of Christianity today with:
John 7:18 - He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory:
John 5:41 I receive not honour from men.
John 5:43 if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
Have we ever institutionalized that one in our day! Just consider the "big" name ministries, colleges, Bible schools, books, and crusades promoted in Christianity along with the Names attached to them.
John 5:44 "How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?"
Back when we were in "church", it became nauseating to hear the flowery, men-honoring introductions of visiting preachers. And usually those well paid speakers would in turn pay word-tribute to the pastor. Did you notice how Jesus pointed out the religious leaders would get honor from one another (other men) and this would hinder their ability to believe His Word?
Notice the style of Jesus in John 5:13 (ASV): But the man who was healed did not know who it was, for JESUS HAD SLIPPED AWAY while there was a crowd in that place".
Surely Jesus missed a golden opportunity to pattern the showmanship style of countless other "name brand" ministries in our day. What Jesus should have done was taken that fella by the hand, and skipped him around the temple a few times so folks would know the healer was in the house.
Preferably while wearing His white, Italian made Jewish robe, Rollex diamond hour-glass watch, and Gucci sandals. He missed his chance to give a 50 minute sermon to proclaim his "vision for the church" too, and especially the chance to receive some tithes and offerings from the great crowd in the place in order to finance His ministry.
This is completely unlike the preachers who rarely or never pass up the opportunity for a bit of "seed sowing" from the folks and love the center-stage attention. Elaborate church platforms and lighting bear witness to who is seeking the attention of the crowd.
But wait, isn't it "Jesus the same yesterday, today, and forever" supposedly living inside the glorified media preachers and preacher-ettes?
>Remember again John 5:41 "I receive not honour from men."
-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
13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip..when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 19 Saying, Give me also this power.. 20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money".
Yet today the modern merchants of Babylon have an industry in Christianity selling "annointed" cloths, Holy Spirit Crusades, Books on "blessings", CD's and sylibus's, impartation, conferences.... the list is endless. 22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness... -Peter told him.
In 3 John :9 another character clue is mentioned as what happens to a man who is lifted up: "I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
Simply put, a single man in charge of a church that loved his position.
"Preeminence" is defined: Superior to or notable above all others; to stand out . That one verse probably gives 99% of all the tele-preachers and mega church pastor wannabees a serious heart-check and exposes who is really running their ministries.
Acts 20:30 gives another clue: "Also of your own selves (Christians) shall men arise (become lifted up), speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after themselves".
The fact that we have a gazillion churches filled with Christians who bear little to no resemblance to Biblical believers bears witness as to what and who is making the disciples to look like. But as long as they go to church, pay their tithes, and support their pastor with loyalty, they get plenty of assurance they are on the road to the promised land.
Rev. 2:14 "But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate ..."
The Lord brought mention of both Balaam and the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes in forceful terms in this passage. Let's see if we can apply this word to Christianity today. Balaam, a messenger and servant of God sold out for personal gain and was impressed by the gifts and status of the men Balak sent to him. "And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honourable...".
Balaam was drawn away from obedience to God by his respect of persons and because God knew what was in his heart..
The spiritual giants of this present world are the stars and famous of God's people. Those who build the visible, manmade kingdoms of "the earth" certainly appear to fill the warnings given to "beware of false prophets". Put them in their organizational "temples" and you have God's people following them in idolatry, preferring their words and ministries in place of personal study and prayer. And the people still continue to bring their gifts, sacrifices, and offerings to the modern idols of stone and wood called "churches".
We all need studying of God's Word, especially the manner and ministry of Jesus, Paul, and the believers in Acts, do we get a truthful picture of what real Christian ministers look like. And there is not one flashy, self-promoting, self-serving, glorified one in the bunch. Period.
Sadly, it is God's people who magnify and enable these men to become the spiritual giants they are. And God forgive us for the "glory-to-the-pastor" testimonies and blind loyalty cultivated in our churches.
Jeremiah 5:31 - The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?
Drawing close to God's Word and Spirit will enable us to take the sword of the Spirit and cut off the head (leadership and influence) of these religious giants so Christ can reign in us.
May God grant you the courage to see why God said in Revelation. 18:4 "Come OUT of her MY people....", and again,
Just as Jesus came and called His sheep out of the apostate Judaic church of His day, so is history repeating and He is once again calling His sheep out of the apostate Christian church of these last days.