Counterfeit Christianity Part 2

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Judas heard the word from the Lord: “One of you is going to betray me tonight.” Everyone of Jesus' disciples began to say, “Lord, is it I?” When Judas asked the same question, the Lord said, “You said so.” That was enough for somebody whose head was not anchored to defeat. Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your power, that I might destroy you.” Samson heard that and still allowed it to happen to him.

 

The Lord has been warning that many people are working behind schedule, and that is scarring. He says that there are so many prophets and prophetesses who by themselves have gone on continuous incubation without hatching, and that many prophets have become parrots, talking too much. Many evangelists have become oracles of the devil and God is now in the process of project transfer, that is, “If this one is silent, the stones shall speak.” I pray that the Lord will not replace us in Jesus’ name. These are very serious matters.

When the Lord says, “Stones shall arise,” He does not mean that stones shall come up and begin to talk. He is saying that hardened people that we never thought would accept the Lord will accept Him and He will bombard them with power and those who have been born again for years will now be carrying their bags for them. It is very sad that we are working behind schedule.

John 18:17: “Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man’s disciples? He saith, I am not.”

The word “Christians” is mentioned only once in the Bible and the word “Christian” appears twice. But in the New Testament, believers are called disciples over and over again

WHO IS A CHRISTIAN DISCIPLE?

A Christian disciple is one who learns of Christ; who follows Christ and obeys Him. In the Bible, we see that the Pharisees had their own disciples. John the Baptist, had his own disciples, and in His days on earth Jesus had His own amongst whom were the apostles whom He chose to be with Him.

In the Bible as well, the term “disciple” is applied to all who followed the Lord, many of whom the book of John tells us that after He had preached a message, they said, “This is a hard saying, who can bear it?” So, they went away and walked no more with Him.

Christ has very many disciples throughout the whole world today. Every Christian should be a disciple. Unfortunately, this is not so and that is why the church of God has problems. We need to make a distinction between being a Christian and being a disciple. Somebody may hear an altar call and come forward to surrender his life to Jesus. He may go through a foundational class, be baptized in water, and by the grace of God got to know about sanctification and the baptism in the Holy Spirit. He could pass through all these experiences but it does not mean that he is a disciple. You are a believer, okay; but that is completely different from being a disciple. It is possible to be a Christian, be saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost and still not be a disciple. Many of them are eaters and not givers. Many churchgoers are following their brains, their persons, their families and their pastors, but not Jesus. This is because they are not disciples.

To be a disciple means to be a disciplined Christian. A Christian who is a disciple does not lose his temper and start fighting. He can discipline his temper. A disciplined Christian is not the kind that would break his fast and be pretending as if he was fasting.

A disciple does not only become a Christian but follows on to know the Lord. No wonder the Bible says, “Unto the children of Israel, God shows His works but unto Moses, He shows His ways.” Which one is better? It is only a disciple that can know the way. The miracle seekers know only the works of God, they are afraid of discipline.

A disciple follows on to know the Lord. Paul said, “That I might know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering.” A disciple is like Mary of Bethany who sat at the feet of Jesus and learned of Him. Discipleship is therefore a costly business; very costly. For example, you would be rejected and ridiculed by others. You would be asked to do things for others whether they deserve it or not. You follow God’s leading, no matter the personal cost it involves. So, discipleship has a price. And because it is a costly business, 90% of churchgoers are not disciples. This is unfortunate.

Singing does not make you a disciple. Ushering does not turn you to a disciple. Even wearing the pastor’s collar does not make you a disciple. To be quite honest with you, many pastors are not disciples yet. Many deliverance ministers do not even understand the meaning of the word disciple. A disciple is not someone who is satisfied only with the fact that he is going to heaven. Salvation does not cost you anything but to be a disciple of Christ is very costly. To get saved, you need only to repent before God and have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, but the conditions for discipleship are quite different and demanding. The question is, “Art thou also one of His disciples?” It is a question you will answer in your heart. They threw the question at Peter and it destabilized him.

A disciple is a champion survivor. When others are falling, the disciple will keep standing. A disciple would trust God no matter the situation he encounters. He is not the kind of person that says, “Well, I asked you people to pray for me and you did not pray for me. There are so many churches in town. I am not coming to this place again.” That is the attitude of miracle collectors. Disciples are not people who say, “Don’t you know who I am in this place? In case you don’t know me, I am so so and so. So I demand respect.”

A disciple obeys God’s commands and would follow the plan that God has chosen for his life. Jesus is number one priority for a disciple. Any other thing is secondary. The priority of many people is marital breakthrough. For some, it is financial breakthrough. May be that is why they are not being blessed. Their priority is wrong. Every disciple is a believer in Jesus but not every believer is a disciple of Jesus.

The benefits of discipleship are so much. The Bible promises Jesus’ disciples wealth and riches. It says that wealth and riches will be in their house. Also, the Bible promises that when dark circumstances surround the Lord’s disciples, God will be there to help them out. It promises that whatever was meant for evil in the lives of disciples shall be transformed into good. It also promises that they will never be shaken from the foundation of their faith. It promises that God’s divine protection shall be upon them and their families. The question again is, “Art thou also one of this man’s disciples or not?”

Many people are not doing what God wants them to do. Many are just warming the benches in the churches, and some are lost there. It is a tragedy for somebody not to know where he is going at the age of 40 - 45.

A sister went to the bank with a cheque of N250, 000.00 she wrote for her church. The bank manager called her and said, “Are you crazy? You want to give the church a whole N250,000.00. Are you mad? Give the church N10,000.00 and give their pastor N5,000.00. The sister said, “No sir, I made a covenant with God that if He blessed me, this is what I would do.” The man said, “Oh, but this is too much.” The sister then withdrew the cheque. Within a short time, she lost two people in her family and spent a total sum of One Million Naira to bury them. “Art thou also one of this man’s disciples, or are you just going to church for the fun of it?

Many people would say, “Pray for me so that the witches disturbing me will die. Pray for me that all shall be well with me.” But these things end here. Witches do not go beyond this place. Once a person dies, he or she is free from witches. He will then face either struggling with Satan in hell fire or he is enjoying with the Master in heaven. The choice is yours.

CONDITION FOR BEING A DISCIPLE OF CHRIST

1. Hatred to self: Luke 14: 26: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple”.

So, the first condition is hatred. Does this mean that we must hate those who are close to us? No. It means that we must give the Lord supreme place in our lives. It means that we must love Him better than we love anyone or anything else. Jesus must come first in our affection and there must be no rival. Some people’s fiancées are rivaling Jesus in their lives. A person sits down to wait before the Lord and wants to receive from Him. As she is reading her Bible, there is a knock at the door and somebody enters, a friend she loves. Then she drops her Bible, the quiet time and the meditation ends, and for the next three hours she is chatting with the visitor. “Art thou also one of this man’s disciples?” If you are, you will arrange your priority well. Jesus must come first in our affection. There must be no rivalry. That is what He is telling us. If a situation arises where we must make a difficult choice between obedience to our parents or obedience to Christ, we must put Christ first. That is what he is saying.

I know of a sister who bought a wedding gown and everything for her wedding. Three days to the wedding she came to the pastor and told him that there was an emergency. “What is the emergency?” The pastor asked. She said, “Sorry sir, you know that Saturday is the wedding, but I have found out that the man drinks although he says that he is born again, I have even found a bottle of gin hidden under his bed. After taking alcohol, the brother used peppermint or something else to wash his mouth. When the sister told her parents about this, they rose against her calling her names, because they wanted her to marry that brother. But she looked at the man and said. “If I marry this one, I will lose Jesus.” She loved the man, but Jesus had the first place in her life. So, she broke the engagement. How many sisters can do that? Many would decide to marry the man and manage with him. Then when they settle down with him, he may be boxing them at night.

In Matthew chapter 10:34-37 Jesus says: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth. I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.”

So it must be Christ first all the time. When Christ has the rightful place in our lives, we shall love our parents the more. When Christ takes the first place in your life, you will love your wife the more.

Art thou also one of this man’s disciples? Does He have preeminence over your life. Do you hate anything that will come between you and Christ? That place you are working and stealing and telling lies, is placing a wall between you and Christ. Is Christ the first place in every part of your life? Examine yourself now. This is why the Lord said that we are working behind schedule.

2. Hatred to worldliness: Any Christian who can still boldly stand in the middle of unbelievers’ party and dance to worldly music, may the Lord have mercy upon him. It means he is still very far from the Lord. If a Christian still has friends who are only interested in parties, he is still far. He needs to recover himself today.

3. Carrying the cross: Luke 14:27 says, “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” These words are very clear and emphatic. They mean that if we are not bearing the cross of Jesus, and growing after Him, we are not true disciples. You can be the disciple of your General Overseer. You can be the disciple of your pastor, you can even be carrying his bag about. You can even give yourself a name, “Pastor's boy,” but if you don’t carry the cross, you are not a disciple. The pastor may be shaking your hands saying, “Well done my boy, well done,” but the Lord may be saying, “This one is stinking, take him away from me."

When we say cross, some people think it is a problem. No, no, it is not a problem that we are talking about. If it refers to problem then it means that everybody is bearing the cross, because there is nobody in this world without one problem or the other. But that is not what we mean.

Several years back, I was sent to a church to represent my own church. There, after the praise and worship, choir ministrations and the message and everything, the pastor came to the front with a microphone and said, “We have been doing pleasant things all along, but when unpleasant duties arise, it is our duty to carry them out.” Then he called one Brother Samuel to come out. The handsome brother came out: The pastor then said, “This brother has slept with three members of this church and has impregnated the three of them.” And turning to Brother Samuel he said, “Therefore, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we excommunicate you from this church, and we hand you over to satan.” And he asked him to go back to his seat. When the pastor called on the congregation to share the grace, I could not stand up. It was a very sad thing.

We need to be very careful. For that man to get into that kind of situation means that he was not a disciple. The sisters who were roaming around him because he was handsome were also not disciples. All those three women he impregnated were cursed, not by the devil, but by man. Who will remove the curse?

To bear the cross is to take up the cross and follow Jesus. It means you voluntarily share in His reproach and suffering. It means that the kind of suffering Jesus went through, you are willingly to share in it. It means you are willing to put aside your own dreams, your own plans, your own ambition and your own goals in exchange for the will of God. It means that in a situation where your desire and that of God are opposite each other, you should follow that of God. Some people say, “Eh, my wife is my cross.” No, she is not. If she is your cross, you will be carrying her about every day. The cross that we are talking about is that you are willing to put aside anything that pleases you in order to follow the Lord.

To Jesus, the cross meant suffering and shame. It meant laying down His life. This is what we find in

Hebrews 12:2: “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

If we are to be Jesus’ disciples, we must be willing to share His sufferings. Some people are ashamed to carry their Bibles in the open. They hide it inside their bags. They don’t want people to call them fanatics.

To be His disciple means to be hated, persecuted and misunderstood as He was. To take up the cross, means that we are willing to bear all the suffering and shame, out of love for Jesus, who out of love for us agreed to be numbered with the transgressors and was crucified on the cross. When Jesus was here on earth, Herod sought to destroy Him as a baby. His town’s men at Nazareth wanted to throw Him over a cliff. The scribes charged Him with being in league with Beelzebub. The people tried to stone Him. The chief priest and the elders paid Judas to betray Him and accuse Him falsely before Caiphas. He was charged for treason before Pilate. Pilate asked the Jews “Whom shall I set free for you? You want Barabbas, the robber or Jesus?” They said, “give us Barabbas.” Pilate then condemned Jesus to death. And He was crucified between two thieves.

HOW DO WE PASS THE TEST OF DISCIPLESHIP?

Have we taken our stand openly for Jesus? Do our friends and loved ones know that we are Christians? Are you willing to deny yourself and bear shame and suffering, if it is necessary, because of Jesus? If you don’t carry your cross, He says, you cannot be His disciple.

THE CROSS

The cross is a place of death. It is a place of humiliation. It is a place of suffering. It is a place of self-mortification. It is the most wicked instrument of death devised by the heart of man; nails are forced through the palms and the ankles, the lungs stretch out and the body sags. The victim now suffocates. He dies painfully and slowly. That cross is the end of your old life. It destroys the old pattern, the pattern of Adam.

When your old life dies on the cross that is true Christianity. Many people are coming to the church but very few are recognized in heaven. Many even call themselves pastors or ministers of God but they are not recognized in heaven. Why? They fail to listen to the words of Jesus: "Whosoever does not bear His cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. "Art thou also one of this man’s disciples.

4. Forsaking all: Luke 14:33 says, “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”

Beloved, the Lord says that there are some miracles He has not started doing because we believers are not ready for them yet. There are a lot of things that are disturbing the power of God from flowing.

What does it mean to forsake? It means that you must forsake all that you have. It means that I must reach the point where I can honestly say,” I am taking my hands off my life. I am taking my hands off my home. I am taking my hands off my loved ones. I am taking my hands off my money. I am taking my hands off my possession. I am taking my hands off all that I have. I am taking my hands off all I have looked upon as my own. I will henceforth look upon them as Jesus’ own. I will no longer have any claim to them.” That is what forsaking means.

There are boxes scattered in the church for people to put in money for the needy. I am sure that there are many people who have not put one kobo inside any of those boxes. It would be helpful for you to make a list of the things you regard as yours. They may be your wife, children, home, bank account, car, house and certificates. Make a list and hand them over to God. Recognise that they belong to Jesus. That songwriter says, “Take my life and let it be, consecrated, Lord to thee…" Take everything. That is what it means to forsake.

“Art thou also one of this man’s disciples?” Forsake every thing. Someone was harassing me: "Excuse me sir, post me out to go and do the work of God, post me out to go and do the work of God.” I said he should go to a certain place where there is religious turmoil and he said “G.O, don’t crack jokes. This is a serious matter. You don’t joke with things like this.” What he was telling me is, “Post me to a comfortable area.”

A true disciple would forsake everything to please the Master.

5. Continuity: In John 8:31, Jesus said to the Jews: “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.” Continuous, not temporary action, not acting when you feel like, not epileptic action. To continue means to abide in Christ, to grow up into Christ, to shape our lives in conformity with the word of God. It means that we should accept the word of God as the final authority in our lives. It means that we should seek day by day to live in submission to the word, and in obedience to the Lord.

Many churchgoers are not really getting ready for the Second Coming of Christ. They don’t pray up to half an hour a day. They don’t read their Bibles up to half an hour a day. They don’t witness to anybody. They just dress up, go into their cars, go to their places of work, come back, go to fellowship at times and go home and sleep. This is dangerous.

What Jesus sometimes wants us to do can conflict with what we want to do or what our friends want us to do. We should be asking ourselves, “What does the Lord want of me? Why has He saved me and called me? There are so many that are roaming about, who are not saved, why did you save me? How will His glory be manifested in my life? Am I reading and meditating and feeding on His word?”

“Art thou also one of this man’s disciples?” The time has come when God will no longer permit His temple to be polluted. There are lots of criminals now in the house of God. A man ran away from the world because the pollution of the world wanted to kill him, he then ran into the church of God, only for him to meet a greater destruction there. He ran away from the Jezebel in the world, only to find out that there are worse Jezebels in the house of God.

When people are pursuing a thief and he runs into a police station, they would stop chasing him at least in the hope that he has given himself up. But it is not always so. Now, Somebody who is a sinner, whose heart is polluted, runs into a church, and one would have thought that by so doing the sinner is now safe. But it is not so. There are many evil workers that Satan has raised up, who are in the house of God, and are not willing to change.

“Art thou also one of this man’s disciples?” What is the sense in coming to church when you do not want to be a disciple? What is the sense in coming to church when at the end of the day, the Lord will say, “Who are you? I don’t know you. Where did you come from?” And you may now say, “Sir, remember that I gave my life to Jesus at so and so crusade. I attended so and so Bible College.” And the voice will say, “Get away from me, you worker of iniquity.” You may say, I used to sing,” was your life in conformity with what you were singing?” I am a pastor.” The voice will say, “Fine, you preached this message, you preached that message, what is the impact of your messages on your life?" You may say, “I was a Sunday school teacher.” The voice will say, “Yes, but you were a worker of iniquity, you were teaching in sin.”

Are you one of those people who are making your church to work behind schedule? Are you a prophet or prophetess whose life is slowing your church down? Are you the type of person that God has been calling and talking to and you put His words aside while pursuing your own agenda? Are you the type that walk with your two eyes open into sin, and you come out and ask God to forgive you? And if He forgives you, you walk into the sin again? When will you be serious with the Master?

PRAYER POINTS

1. Every enemy of discipleship in my life must go today, in Jesus’ name.
2. O Lord, let sin be slaughtered in my life, in the name of Jesus.
3. Every spiritual veil preventing me from seeing, be roasted, in the name of Jesus.
4. My hypocrisy must die, in the name of Jesus.
5. Power to save myself from this wicked generation, fall upon my life, in the name of Jesus.
6. O mountain of iniquity, clear away from my life, in the name of Jesus.
7. I shall not go back into perdition, in the name of Jesus.
8. My Father, let Your glory possess me, in the name of Jesus.
9. O Lord, deliver me from evil conscience, in the name of Jesus.
10. Every satanic strangulation on my neck, break, in the name of Jesus.
11. Lord, sprinkle my heart with Your blood, in the name of Jesus.
12. Lord, destroy the evil in my flesh, in the name of Jesus.
13. Every spiritual irritation, be lifted away, in Jesus’ name.
14. Mountains of hindrance get out of my situation, in the name of Jesus.
15. Every hindrance to open doors in my life, clear away, in the name of Jesus.

Last modified on Thursday, 07 July 2011 16:03

1 comment

  • Comment Link John Macaulay
    John Macaulay Tuesday, 04 December 2012 15:32
    What a message!

    I need to read this often.

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