“Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law.” Zephaniah 3:4
Let me start this article off with a question: If a coach for America’s favorite teams, regardless of what sport it may be, loses game after game, how long do you suppose that the American people are going to put up with it (Jeremiah 11:13)? Not long at all because they will not put up with it.
Let me ask you another question: How long do you suppose that the American church will put up with their favorite preacher when they see the moral decline of their country decade after decade (Jeremiah 23)? Look around, because they are still putting up the same hirelings as the ones that they are to emulate (John 10:12).
Let’s take Billy and Franklin Graham for an example, and there are so many more I could point towards. Men put them up in place of Christ and suggest to the people, on a global scale, that they are the ones that need to be emulated, that they are the standard to which we must live (Luke 16:15).
“Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” -Luke 6:26
Oh, how the world loves the Grahams…
What happens is that when men allow them to be the set standard in the place of Christ, others line up behind them believing that, preaching, in contrast, in the face of Scripture such things as living a lukewarm life (Revelation 3:15-17), under a false grace (Galatians 5:13) and a dissimulated (Hiding under a false appearance) love (Romans 12:9).
“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” -Jude 4
The next step in departing from the Scriptures (Psalm 119:53) then comes in when the masses begin to follow their favorite preacher in order to accept the compromises of their favorite politicians, only to be led back into Egypt and, all the while, they were warned of both (Deuteronomy 28:63-68).
“And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.” -Mark 8:15
And the end result will be what it is that Americans failed to take heed unto.
“Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin:
That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!
Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion.” Isaiah 30:1-3
When you see these men push you to their favorite politicians instead of Christ, run as fast as you can in the other direction. Christ is the standard, man is not (John 14:6)!
The next downward step is that many in the modern-day Church become the self-proclaimed prophet that the Lord never called them to be, which then drives men to their favorite politicians rather than the use of the law to drive men to Christ (Galatians 3:24), which they have forsaken (Proverbs 28:4), thus making war with God (Micah 3:5).
And what is their message? Peace, peace when there is no peace. The modern-day Church has been taught to be at peace with a world that is at war with God.
Jeremiah 5:31,6:13,14:14,23:11-21,26:8-9; Lamentations 2:14; Ezekiel 22:26-28; Micah 3:11-12; Matthew 23:31; Luke 11:47-51, etc.
- Corruption in the Church and in the Government
- Contrived wars
These have clearly turned in the day of battle (Psalm 78:9) as they continuously point to the government that the Church is responsible for creating (Numbers 32:23). These are no threat to corruption in any sense of the word and therein lies the problem (Ephesians 5:11).
The Lord did not send them!
These are the works and the arm of the flesh which bring a curse (Jeremiah 17:5).
These are merely point men to keep the Church in line with the government’s agenda and that to their own demise (Psalm 9:17). In fact, this is the cycle from which man has failed to learn (Jeremiah 6:16).
On the other hand, let me share with you the picture of a prophet written by the late Leonard Ravenhill (Ezekiel 33:1-20).
The prophet in his day is fully accepted of God and totally rejected by men.
Years back, Dr. Gregory Mantle was right when he said, “No man can be fully accepted until he is totally rejected.” The prophet of the Lord is aware of both these experiences. They are his “brand name.”
The group, challenged by the prophet because they are smug and comfortably insulated from a perishing world in their warm but untested theology, is not likely to vote him “Man of the year” when he refers to them as habituates of the synagogue of Satan!
The prophet comes to set up that which is upset. His work is to call into line those who are out of line! He is unpopular because he opposes the popular in morality and spirituality. In a day of faceless politicians and voiceless preachers, there is not a more urgent national need than that we cry to God for a prophet! The function of the prophet, as Austin-Sparks once said, “has almost always been that of recovery.”
The prophet is God’s detective seeking for a lost treasure. The degree of his effectiveness is determined by his measure of unpopularity. Compromise is not known to him.
He has no price tags. He is totally “otherworldly.”
He is unquestionably controversial and unpardonably hostile.
He marches to another drummer!
He breathes the rarefied air of inspiration. He is a “seer” who comes to lead the blind. He lives in the heights of God and comes into the valley with a “thus saith the Lord.”
He shares some of the foreknowledge of God and so is aware of
impending judgment. He lives in “splendid isolation.”
He is forthright and outright, but he claims no birthright.
His message is “repent, be reconciled to God or else…!”
His prophecies are parried.
His truth brings torment, but his voice is never void.
He is the villain of today and the hero of tomorrow.
He is excommunicated while alive and exalted when dead!
He is dishonored with epithets when breathing and honored with epitaphs when dead.
He is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, but few “make the grade” in his class. He is friendless while living and famous when dead.
He is against the establishment in ministry; then he is established as a saint by posterity.
He eats daily the bread of affliction while he ministers, but he feeds the Bread of Life to those who listen.
He walks before men for days but has walked before God for years.
He is a scourge to the nation before he is scourged by the nation.
He announces, pronounces, and denounces!
He has a heart like a volcano and his words are as fire.
He talks to men about God.
He carries the lamp of truth amongst heretics while he is lampooned by men. He faces God before he faces men, but he is self-effacing.
He hides with God in the secret place, but he has nothing to hide in
He is naturally sensitive but supernaturally spiritual.
He has passion, purpose and pugnacity.
He is ordained of God but disdained by men.
Our national need at this hour is not that the dollar recovers its strength, or that we save face over the Watergate affair, or that we find the answer to the ecology problem. We need a God-sent prophet!
God have mercy! Send us PROPHETS!
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