A Voice in the
June 10, 2001
Prayer of Jabez
"Prayer of Jabez" a Best Seller, Secular Press Notices
God has indeed blessed Bruce Wilkinson and enlarged his territory. Even Time Magazine has noticed. In its April 23 issue,..Lynn Garrett, religion editor at Publishers Weekly, told Time: "It's a raging success, and I think it's going to continue to build. It could easily become this year's hardcover best seller."...."After decades of willful ignorance," David Van Biema, author of the Time article notes, "the publishing world has learned ... that titles by and for evangelical Christians can sell angelically. But unlike 'Left Behind,' which trades on the spectacular cast and characters of the Book of Revelation, 'Jabez' is essentially a bulked-up sermon, pouring much of the evangelical mission into the prayer's five short clauses."
[Editor: this "prayer" is found in 1Ch4:10]
But that wouldn't fit with today's "bless me" -prosperity- theology... and the praying of mantras, would it. I've read someplace that people are being encouraged to recite this 'prayer' 50-100 times-a-day...just like the Catholics repeat the rosary, etc. It's another "vain repetition as the heathen do.." (Mt6:7) This "prayer" is recorded in Scripture 'historically', not meant for us to recite/repeat.
Beyond this, I don't intend to address this topic further. If we spend all our time on every latest idolatrous mantra fad that comes out, we won't be in the Scriptures and "looking unto Jesus". (Heb12:2)
Gospel in the Stars?
However, when the wise men came to worship Jesus after His birth, they didn't have the Scriptures...but God spoke to them through the star. After all, "The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. [There is] no speech nor language [Where] their voice is not heard. (Psalms 19:1-3)
From what I've read of these "gospels", the ones I've read have been Scriptural. I expect it -could- be a witnessing tool when speaking to those who know nothing but the stars...pointing them to Jesus Christ. But once the introduction is made, then take them into God's written Word. Jesus is the One with the "Words of eternal life". (Jn6:68)
But what the false teachers do is to take isolated verses out of context, and if they contain anything remotely resembling their beliefs, they will tack such Scriptures on in "support".
Using their "logic" (notice in quotes), a person could proclaim from Scripture that one should hang one's self, that a person -should- commit suicide, and that hanging is the way to do it. If a person opened the Scriptures to Mt27:3,5 they could see that Judas "hanged himself". And then jump over to Lk10:37 to the command to, "go and do likewise". And finally, Jn13:27, "what you do do quickly". If a person looks at the adjacent verses in these instances, one easily realizes that such verses are taken out of context...and have nothing to do with any injunctions for a person to kill themself.
I fear that the same thing has been done by these people to Eze13:20.
Who are Gog, Magog, Gomer, etc? Ezekiel 38 & 39
Now, even Turkey, while having a treaty with Israel, has been making noises against Israel. The EU has been gaining momentum, and flexing its global muscles to dabble into world affairs all over...and it seems that the PLO are looking to the EU, wishing (begging) for them to get involved in the process. Of course, Russia is already involved. They've already got their "muslim" wars going on. And all these nations... Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Lybia, etc. are overflowing with Russian weapons they have been stockpiling for the past several decades.
So, yes... Ezekial 38-39 is about 'all' the countries that are presently involved with (in some way) the Middle-East 'crisis'.
Prayers of the unsaved answered "in Jesus' name"?
"Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him." (Jn9:31)
READER FOLLOW-UP QUESTION:
Or if that was the case, then the other friend of mine who claims that that type of prayer has worked for him, and is not a believer, would be saved and not know it? I know its tough. any further thoughts?
The fact that a person would even say something like prayer "worked for" him, means they are not saved. They don't know what true Believer's prayer is. Prayer is not some "tool" one wields as a mantra. But is a continual (1Th5:17) fellowship with God through the Holy Spirit. (Rom8:26-27) If a person does not know this kind of Holy Spirit prayer, because the Spirit does not reside, they are not Believers. (Rom8:9)
But this does not indicate (one way or another) whether or not a person "walked away from" (Heb10:38-39) their salvation (NOT "lost"), or if they never were ever saved to begin with. (1Jn2:19) Only the person, themself, could know such a thing...and even moreso, the Lord knows the heart. (Heb4:12-13, Pr21:2, 24:12, etc) He knows "those who are His" (2Tm2:19)
Church, Government & Finances
Jesus said to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's. We render to Caesar in all we do. The church, however, is God's and thus, the state should have no say in it whatsoever. I feel that pastors feel muzzled in alot of ways and are afraid to speak out about that which is wrong (ie. abortion, homosexuality, etc). They are afraid to appear as being "politically incorrect."
I am just curious as to how you feel about this. I'm sure you know about the Indianapolis Baptist Temple, a 50 year old church, which was seized because they refused to bow to the 501c3 fraud. The first Christian church to be seized in American history - how very sad!
Thank you so much for your time and God bless you!
and particularly, the answer to Point #3 will speak to your concerns. You'll see the bit about the 'questionnaire' the government requires to be filled out about the group's beliefs and ideologies.
I would have to say that my 'views' on what a local assembly should be like have changed dramatically over the past few years. I remember a point in time when I would have hoped to be able to be "called" by some church to be their (salaried) pastor. I spent many years, years ago, working within the system, in music. Directing choirs, leading music, doing special music, doing itinerate concerts, preaching, teaching, etc. Whatever there was to do, I have done it. But I must say that, for the most part, I am seeing that the way most 'churches' function today is detestable in God's sight. Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with having a 'building'... but all the 'form'. The "order of service", the platform/altar, the heathen inscriptions on the pulpits, tables, communion implements, programs, programs, programs, etc, etc.
Yes, Jesus' group that travelled around with Him, had a treasury. Judas kept the moneybag. (Jn13:29) Likely some sort of "petty cash" system? The early church had some sort of system whereby people were selling their possessions and bringing the proceeds for the benefit of the overall organization. (Acts2:45, etc) As Jesus was about to be crucified, and is giving instructions for future ministry, He speaks of "But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it," (Lk22:36) And Paul goes into quite some length about the carefulness with which money should be handled. (2cor ch8-9) So, obviously, money needs to be handled in a Christian setting.
(It is the corporation/financial reasons the government gets involved in "church" legalities...officially. It will be one of the 'hooks' by which christendom will be under the antichrist's control. Christ's True Church will have been raptured out by then, but the pretend "church" will find itself ensnared!)
But, how can something that is "Christian" be governed by the world's legal system? We are of a different "citizenship". (Phil3:20) Our warfare is not "carnal". (2Cor10:4) Jesus' kingdom is not subject to Rome and Caesar; it is "not of this world". (Jn18:36) Even in settling disputes, Paul chides carnal Corinth for going to the world's court systems. (1Cor ch6) If a local assembly is tied under the government, it has subjugated itself to the "ruler of the authority of the air". (Eph2:2) But Jesus, our "Head" (Eph1:22), is the "King of kings, and Lord of lords" (1Tm6:15)
We find Jesus responding to some encounters. First of all, He is questioned, "Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?" And upon getting their observation of Caesar's inscription on the coins, He says, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." (Mt22:17-21) On another occasion someone comes around asking about the "temple tax". (Mt17:24) Now, while it is called a "temple" tax, it would seem to be one of the taxes that Rome may have likely imposed upon Israel, because Jesus discusses with Peter about the "kings of the earth" who take taxes. (vs25) And notice that Jesus instructs Peter regarding paying the tax for Himself and Peter (vs27), -NOT- the whole group. As 'individuals' we pay our taxes. (Rom13:6-7)
However, notice how Jesus' ministry was supported. It is not recorded anywhere that Jesus took up collections, or engaged in commerce. In fact, His disciples He called 'away from' their forms of livelihood. But notice, there was an 'entourage' that followed Him. It lists the names of some of them and says, "..and many others who ministered to Him out of their possessions." (Lk8:3) I expect that all of these 'individuals' were tax-paying citizens. But they supported Jesus' ministry from out of their 'own' means. Jesus had no home where He could "lay His head" (Lk9:58), but was continually invited into people's homes. (Mt17:25, Mk9:28, Lk14:1) And as He sent out the twelve, He commands them about receiving whatever hospitality that is offered along the way. (Lk9:4, 10:5) This hospitality was their room and board, as He calls it their "wages" of which the workman is "worthy". (Lk10:7)
Having grown up in the ministry I have seen this countless times. We came back from Japan in 1960, a man took my dad out and bought him a new suit. A minister who is travelling might stay some place, and the people go along to the gas station and pay to fill up the tank...or slip some bills into the handshake, or shirt pocket, "This is for gas...or meals along the way". During one of the choir tours at Bible school, I was the group's treasurer, so saw how people would give, and how expenses were paid. I have seen these things in personal ministry. And usually the biggest givers are either those who want no recognition for their giving, or are least financially able to give (by the world's standards)... like the widow who threw in "two mites". (Lk21:2) A friend even in these days tells how people give to their ministry, whether cars, equipment needed, or money. This is how God's work is supported, by the 'individual' giving of God's people as they "[purpose] in [their] heart" to give "cheerfully". (2Cor9:7)
Now... if today's Church was doing as Scripture says, and the world was kept out, each fellowship would be 'considerably' smaller. There would likely be no 'salaried' pastors (although their needs would certainly be met from out of the fellowship). In most cases, there would not be group-owned buildings. Just as the N.T. churches are pretty much all recorded as being in somebody's home, I expect that today those whom God had blessed with homes large enough to hold groups of people would host such meetings. Remember that the early, hatchling, fledgling Church was meeting "from house to house" (Ac2:46) And while Paul had periods of time when he taught either in the synagogues or in the "school of Tyrannus" (Ac19:9) he summarizes how he had taught "from house to house" (Ac20:20)
I cannot speak one way or the other about any current entities that are being hounded by the government, because I don't know them personally to know if they are even "Christian" by a Scriptural definition. There will certainly be a lot of politics in the next few years between the organized "church" of 'christendom', just as there were conflicts between the various governments and the Catholic and Protestant factions of the church of Rome down through the centuries, and the government.
But it is my strong conviction that any group of Believers who are truly "Believers" into Jesus Christ -CANNOT- have any ties to any governments. VW does not. And when the new "VW-edition" of the Scriptures is ready (soon) for unveiling, it is not going to be copyrighted. A Copyright says that some government (human) agency is needed to "protect" something. Well, all the works that publishers guard jealously with copyrights now are all perverted, and to varying degrees, not true to God! So, of what good were those copyrights? The only 'guarding' they did was of the bank accounts of those publishers. 2Cor2:17 comes to mind.
If you read through that Pt #3, you will see the recommendation for truly Godly assemblies to re-evaluate their group's legal status. Investigate exactly 'what' their ties to the government are, if they don't know. And if they are a truly "Christian" group, seriously consider what changes might be in order, so that they can get out from under any obligation to 'Caesar'. Possibly even to the point of selling all physical assets, and totally reorganizing their group's structure ("disband" legally) as they, perhaps, split up into smaller groups to meet in homes and various such places. This recommendation will not apply to any of the 'mega' churches. I have yet to hear of any of them that are truly "Christian". If there were -actually- "thousands" of Believers in one place (like their church "membership" rolls indicate), the whole world would be turned upside down for Christ by now. And that, simply, is not happening today! We are in the days of 1Tim4:1-3, 2Tim3:1-9, 2Pet2:1-3, Jude, etc.
True Believers are a rarity today. They are the "few". (Mt7:14) In fact, just today I discovered another 'interesting' mistranslation. When Jesus speaks of the seed that fell into the good ground, many have been the sermons indicating things on the order of "bumper crops" of converts, as people are spurred on in their mission as "soul winners". "..SOME thirty...SOME sixty...SOME a hundred.." (Mk4:20) But actually, the Greek word behind what we have become accustomed to reading as "some", is "one". Thus, out of all this seed that gets scattered around, whole bunches of it get eaten up by birds, choked out by thorns, dried up on the rocks... and the fruitful ones are "one" over here producing 30; "one" over there producing 60; etc. That's "few".
Thus, with the reality of what makes up Christ's Church today, the whole thing of becoming incorporated under the government is, not only 'wrong'... it is physically 'unnecessary'... for the 'real' Believers. There aren't enough of us in any one location together for it to matter.