EARTHLY MINDED MINISTRY
The world is going though problems, and increasingly so. It does not look as if it is going to become any better either. All prophecies concerning the end times point to difficult periods, with natural calamities, pestilences (epidemics), worsening immorality and violence, political and economic chaos, etc. Yet what are many preachers promising? Prosperity, a better tomorrow, a sudden change of fortune for the better, healing of relationships, etc.! Many quote Bible verses to support this, and others give prophetic messages from the Lord! Crowds may be enthralled, but sooner than later, they are going to wake up and see that these promises are hollow.
Turn To God
At troublesome periods in Israel's history in the old times, what did the prophets have to say? "Turn from your wicked ways to God. Repent. Cast off your idols. Humble yourselves and acknowledge your sins. Know that it is your sins that have turned God's face away from you." They also announced God's heart of love and favour towards them and His plans for their welfare. But this was contingent on their turning to God. Do our times need no such prophets?
John the baptiser came with the message heralding the new covenant. "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand." Jesus gave the same call for repentance, and established the kingdom of God on earth. Theologians know that Jesus' kingdom is not of this earth, and it has more to do with righteousness, peace and joy than earthly good. But many prophets and preachers of today seem to be proclaiming a message of earthly prosperity, comfort and peace. If we think about it, we will know that it was this same misunderstanding on the part of the leaders in Jesus' days that caused them to expect a messiah with an earthly kingdom, and crucify the real Messiah who stood before them.
The prophets of old, who proclaimed the word that the Lord gave them, were unpopular, and paid a big cost for their faithfulness to God. But they were the ones who loved the people and gave them the message that could save and bless them. But the people and their leaders did not want such messages. They wanted to do whatever they liked, and were in no mood to change their ways just to please God. They had their false prophets to proclaim "Peace" where there was no chance of peace. Sure enough, it 'looked' as though these were the ones who loved the people.
The so-called prophets of today also know that they cannot be popular if they preach messages that are not palatable to the masses. So, when they meet couples whose marriages are on the rocks, they do not tell them to change their ways and learn to live with understanding. Instead, they proclaim that God is going to start a new phase in their lives and they are going to experience a mighty work of the Spirit! When greed and jealousy have caused businesses and families to go broke, these prophets assure them of forthcoming prosperity. All that the people have to do is to plant some 'seed' money (in their organisation or church!). There is no word about repentance or changing their life-styles. When children are rebellious and communications have broken down, there is no word about humbling oneself and seeking God. There is always the whitewash (promises of good things to come) to cover up the patches on the walls. "Command Satan to depart, and everything will be fine!"
It is heart-rending to see such preachers holding large numbers of gullible people under their sway. It cannot be that they have not heard about the kingdom of heaven. Then why are they still preaching about a kingdom on earth? Do they sincerely believe what they are preaching, giving false hopes to suffering masses? They know they cannot be accepted without such messages.
People are swallowing up all these capsules of promise because they have not heard about the kingdom of God. They have been told about Jesus who would come and solve all their problems. All they have to do is to ask Him to come into their hearts.
According to God's Word, things are only going to become worse. But perhaps there are a few, here and there, who are seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness.