The 'gravy train' (18/7/11)

 

The ministry in many places worldwide has become a lucrative industry. Some call it living under 'the blessing'

 

The gateway of deception has come through the so-called "five-fold ministry" exhalting itself from being servants and carers to being a business which sets up a local fellowship by appointing a couple of people as elders and a 'lead elder' to be the head. They do this not realising that where they appoint themselves as leaders and elders, CHRIST is NOT present (He does not take second place) ...and instead of it being the church which Jesus is building, it becomes their own. ( Psalm 12:1)

 

They preach then decide that they need to be paid for their 'ministry' ...and that this should be funded by encouraging their congegations to give to 'God'. In time they start to live as though the money which is given (including the 'widows mite')  is theirs to do with as they choose without having to give an account. The money given in most cases in the New Testament scriptures was given for the POOR....in some cases for itinerant apostles....but NEVER for church organisations other than to FEED the needy.

(The biblical apostles even got the church members... i.e. the givers ...to appoint their OWN deacons to administer the money...they did not treat it as their own to spend as they wanted or even use it for 'ministry expenses', but for the NEEDS of people! Acts 6:3, Acts 3:6)

Preachers claim to be 'building the kingdom of God' but Jesus said 'My kingdom is NOT of this world'. Buildings & money certainly ARE 'of this world'!

They claim that the money is needed to 'preach the gospel'....and then fail to quote scriptures. WE are ALL called to preach....and NOT to pay 'hirelings' to do the work of ministry for us!

They tell their congregations to trust God and to give in faith that God will supply their needs ...while they themselves do NOT trust God to supply their own needs through the freewill giving of the church. (Proven by the fact that they are prepared to preach deceptions such as 'storehouse money tithing', sacrifices and offerings, first fruits, sowing and reaping, honoring the prophet, etc)

They then boast of the 'blessing of God on their life'......as though the money they have conned people into giving by false teachings is the provision of God!

 

God warns His children about this...

Jer 6:12-13
For I will stretch out My hand
Against the inhabitants of the land," says the LORD.
13 "Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them,
Everyone is given to covetousness;
And from the prophet even to the priest,
Everyone deals falsely
.      NKJV
 

 

Children of God BEWARE....the first sign of a wolf according to the scriptures is covetousness...ie he goes after your MONEY! It is not hard to see who the wolf is today (Acts 20:29-35)

 

The church leaders today in many places are living a lives totally contrary to what the bible tells us is God's way for ministers

Matt 8:20

20 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."  NKJV

In the Old Testament the Levites were to have NO inheritance in the land...they received the tithes (which were FOOD) INSTEAD!

Num 18:24
24 For the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer up as a heave offering to the LORD, I have given to the Levites as an inheritance ; therefore I have said to them, 'Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance .'"   NKJV
 

Most preachers today OWN property....and still believe they should receive tithes contrary to God's word??

Can 'men of God' be this blinded other than by covetousness?

 
 

The apostle Peter demonstrated what Jesus taught in his life

Acts 3:6
6 Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."   NKJV
 

Note that this event occurred after the people had sold their houses and given the money....BUT the money was distributed for the NEEDS of the people...not for the benefit of the preachers (or even their  support or 'ministry expenses')

 

Paul demonstrated an integrity almost unheard of in churches today

2 Cor 12:14
And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.  NKJV

If you sense that the 'preacher' is after your money he is NOT a man of God....but a savage wolf! According to Paul, he is certainly NOT a 'father of the house' as some like to claim.

If the preacher is telling you as a parent not to LAY UP for your children, he is NOT teaching truth. He is LYING so that you will FAIL as a parent and so that he will get the money instead!

 

John taught and practiced the same financial integrity. What John taught should be given was the HOSPITALITY that Jesus said they as apostles could receive when travelling.

3 John 8

Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, 6 who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well, 7 because they went forth for His name's sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles. 8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we may become fellow workers for the truth.     NKJV

 

Paul was an apostle....who actually had the 'right of support'.....but still chose to be a giver...and not a taker because this is what JESUS taught them ALL.  

Acts 20:33-35

33 I have coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. 34 Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. 35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' NKJV

 

This is the example Paul commands ALL church leaders to follow.....why is this being ignored by almost all ministers today?

2 Thess 3:6-10

But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; 8 nor did we eat anyone's bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, 9 not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.   10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.    NKJV

 

1 Thess 4:9-12

But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; 10 and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; 11 that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.    NKJV
 

God's way of providing our NEEDS is that where ever possible we WORK with our OWN hands!....this will attract HIS blessing!

 

Apostles were NOT the high flying big shots of the church......they were the CHIEF SERVANTS!

1 Cor 4:9-13
9 For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! 11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.   NKJV

Matt 20:27-28
27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."    NKJV
 

If this type of apostle exists in the world today he is certainly not seen on so-called 'christian' TV...or in most churches!

Many itinerant preachers want to have their own jets... or fly first class....staying in delux hotel suites...and receiving huge 'honorariums' before they will preach.

Self proclaimed apostles and prophets today seek to be honored above others....many visibly know nothing of hunger .....and are certainly not poorly dressed. Most are located in churches rather than being itinerant and have houses of greater value than most of the people they minister to (as they speak of the 'blessing of God' on their lives).

 

Brethren can you not see that something is very wrong with this picture?

 

This type of leadership is fleecing the flock....and feeding themselves instead. 

 1 Peter 5:2-3

2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;   3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.  KJV

Very few 'pastors' seem prepared to minister if salaries are not offered.

 

Luke 16:13

13 "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."    NKJV
 

This passage IS addressed to MINISTERS...or servants...not to the sheep.

The very word minister is derived from the Greek word for servant being 'daikonos'....It is distinguished from a slave who may work against his will and receives nothing ...and a hireling who works by choice  for wages (Zondervan Bible Dictionary)!

Ministers work under self complusion FOR FREE!

 

Matt 10:7-8
7 And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'  8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.   NKJV

It has even reached the situation where in some 'crusades' the congregations are pressured to make 'faith offerings' BEFORE the preaching or the ministry to the sick. This is done because the ministers who pursue money seldom truly deliver the ministry of the kingdom and the Spirit of God.
 

Why will preachers not honestly address the question of what the only wages were that Jesus said they were worthy of?  

Matt 10:7-12
And as you go, preach, saying,'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'  8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.  9 Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts,  10 nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food. 11 "Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out.   NKJV
  

The wages in the 'first mention'...and in every subsequent reference ...are clearly identified in context as HOSPITALITY! (Food, drink and accommodation)

None of the apostles or Jesus were EVER paid a salary to preach! (if I am wrong I challenge you to give me a scripture. All recorded history verifies this)

 

Matt 6:24
You cannot serve God and mammon .   NKJV

 

 ....and that only for itinerant wo...

When will the church leadership begin to DEMONSTRATE the LOVE and the CHARACTER of Jesus....instead of the greed of the world?

 

Preachers today the world is saying to you ..."When I see a real man of God who lives the life of Jesus THEN I will believe"

               and

"If you are not prepared to tell me the truth when it comes to money, how can I trust you to tell me the truth about God"

 

 

(If you choose to reject the message.... ask yourself if you feel better for questioning my integrity and walk with God or suggesting that I have a 'spirit of offense'...as you ignore the clear demands of the scriptures?

 

I choose with Abram ....and Elisha....and Paul ...to say :-

Gen 14:22-23

22 But Abram  said to the king of Sodom, "I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, 'I have made Abram  rich'    NKJV

2 Kings 5:14
"As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will receive nothing."     NKJV

2 Cor 12:14-15
And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.    NKJV
 
 
 

Jesus is asking YOU ....."Will you match Abram's integrity?"......because that is where the 'river of God' ...and 'the blessing' starts (Gen 12:2-3)....ie when we trust GOD for the provision of blessings which He promises ...rather than getting the money by deception or even extortion which results from preaching false doctrines to His children.