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Preface (Sort of like credits)
Before I start I would like to thank God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit for loving me, teaching me and guiding me. What I type isn’t completely accredited to me. It’s mostly the inputs I get from having a relationship—a talking, walking, real, true and tested relationship—with the Lord all the time 24/7. Sometimes He uses people whom I call my family in Christ. I have been blessed with friends who are sensitive to the Holy Spirit. We tend to take these things for granted, but I’d like to thank God for them and thank them for being available to His voice. I am so ever grateful for the people who led me to the knowledge of His saving grace and seen me through since my state of infancy in Christ.
There are many more I’d like to thank, but the main thing is that I realise I wouldn’t have been able to survive without the Lord. He brought the right people into my life. No matter where this life leads me I’ll forever be grateful to Him.
Now back to what I have meant to write… The Babylon in our churches. What has led me to write this? Well recently have come across some really disheartening things happening in Christian churches throughout the world. I don’t want to take names or be judgmental because I know we all are weak and can fall the moment we stop recognising Him as Lord and set ourselves as king over our own lives.
I have recently come across a word–Churchianity–and was amazed at how true it is that we play church more than we focus on the life, death, resurrection and second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. “I, Me, Myself” has taken the place of the Heavenly Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. To understand what Babylon is, for those of you who are scratching their heads, it can be summarised in one word–self. Seeking myself over anything else could mean the following:
1) Constantly thriving to progress one’s own career for only one’s benefit
2) Seeking good things for one’s own family without considering the needs of others
3) Always looking forward for a pat in the back from people in churches (something termed in the Bible as “people pleasers”
4) Doing good works or charitable acts for the poor, widowers, orphans and others only so that people may praise you and look up to you
5) Worship in church is more about how the music sounds, the instruments used, the number of people enjoying the music
6) There are many more examples… The list is endless
Recently, I went to a worship concert wherein a person introduced the musicians as “here to PERFORM worship”. The very thought of it being a performance was something that irked me. Maybe it was just the person’s choice of words, but we speak out of the abundance of our heart. That’s what most Churches are like today, and even most Christians (I was one of them). We follow the law, statutes and doctrine, then we also go to church every Sunday, help out as much as we can, impress other fellow Christians with charity and other righteous works, go for every prayer meeting and Bible study, and so much more. But are they bearing fruit? Are we like those who Jesus called the “white-washed tombs”? Aren’t we like the legalists, the pharisees, the Sanhedrin, the scribes, and teachers that Jesus criticised?
Someone asked me what makes the true church of Christ different from other religions and other places of worship. The answer is–the manifest presence of the Living God who created the heavens and the earth and all that we see and know. When we start playing church and lose sight of seeking God rather than charting out human plans and ambitions for churches, we lose the presence of God.
People pleasers or God pleasers – a choice we have to make
When we do anything for the Lord or generally in all that we do, we need to keep this in mind, to do all things…
Ephesians 6:6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
The motto in the lives of Christians and the central theme at all churches should be, “The Lord’s will be done. Not ours.” When it was time for Jesus to accomplish the will of the Father on earth, He starts off asking the Father to change the plan of Him taking up the cross, but without a second thought or even a second breath, He says Father let Your will be done. We can see this in Matthew, Mark and Luke as follows:
Matthew 26:39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”… 42 Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless[e] I drink it, Your will be done.”… 44 So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
Mark 14:36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”
Luke 22:41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”
Most of us may be familiar with the term “free will”. Something that God has given us all, because we are not be robots following commands, but out of our love for Him choose to follow Him. It is about learning to trust Him. There is no blind faith. We choose to have faith. When we don’t walk in His will, we walk in our will. Unfortunately we don’t have the broad sight that God has. We are very short-sighted in our decisions, or make plans according to what would work well for here and now without taking into account future repercussions. We have to admit we lack His wisdom and experience. So once we realise more than just being God He is our Heavenly Father, we learn to allow Him to let His will be done while, we stand still without saying a word or letting ourselves decide what to do.
God waits patiently for us. He won’t run after us when we walk another way. He stands and waits for us on the way He has prepared for us. The day we turn back to Him and His way, He runs out with all the blessings of His riches for us just as the father in the prodigal son parable.
Luke 15: 11 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’
20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring[b] out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
While, not walking in God’s way, do you know what you could miss? His presence. He is there, but is not active. He is a gentleman, He waits for you to reach out to Him. He watches you painfully make mistakes till you cry Father save me, take me back. Then He enters and takes His place, His presence is activated in your life. Let’s take a look at Saul. He was anointed king and put in leadership over God’s people. Then he sinned and lost his position and also the favour and the presence of God. You can see in the following:
1 Samuel 15:17 So Samuel said, “When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the LORD anoint you king over Israel? 18 Now the LORD sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ 19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the LORD?”
20 And Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and gone on the mission on which the LORD sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the LORD your God in Gilgal.”
22 So Samuel said:
“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the LORD?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
He also has rejected you from being king.”
24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.
So what happened? Saul lost the presence of God and at a later time fell miserably when he consulted evil spirits for guidance rather than trusting God. God replaced Saul. God can raise up stones to praise Him, so stop thinking God needs you. You need God. Here’s what God commanded Samuel, in order to replace Saul:
1 Samuel 16: 1 Now the LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.”
2 And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.”
But the LORD said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’ 3 Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; you shall anoint for Me the one I name to you.”
Pleasing man over pleasing God is something the Bible clearly talks about. Jesus speaks about the Pharisees or religious leaders in the following:
John 12: 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
Those of you praying in a group, or preaching or leading worship keep this in mind always:
Psalm 22: 25 My praise shall be of You in the great assembly;
I will pay My vows before those who fear Him.
Our praise should come from God rather than the lips of men and women.
Galatians 1:10 and 1 Thessalonians 2:4:
Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
1 Thessalonians 2:4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.
How do we classify ourselves-we the lukewarm churches of the world, who don’t want to hurt sentiments of people and please congregations? Did God say the bigger the church will I bless you more? God is not looking for quantity, but He is looking for quality.
Doesn’t this attitude remind you of Saul where he says, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.” Compromise–isn’t that what it is called. I have heard excuses people give for not following the Word of God or even the will of God such as, “Oh my pastor said so”, “the priest said so”, the pope said so”, “my parents like me to do it this way”, “my friends will not be happy if I follow this”, “I want to keep my husband at peace with me”, “my wife nags me if I don’t do it her way” and sadly many more such. I have no fear saying that all of these are mere human beings. Yes, you must honour your parents, but it is further clarified in Ephesians 6:1- Honour your parents in the Lord (so long as they don’t contradict the Lord).
Yes, God has appointed leaders over us, but even leaders must be the one that follow the Leader of all leaders, the King of all Kings and the Lord of all lords. Hence, it is essential to sow God’s word in your heart that you might discern if what is being said or asked of you is from the Lord. God never contradicts His Word. If something contradicts the Lord’s Word then it is definitely not Him. Pray for discernment. God says ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find.