Racism in the Church?

Racism is not just an American thing; it is beyond that. Racism plays an important part in the culture of the last days. In Matthew 24:7 Jesus tells us that “…nation will rise against nation…” The word nation here is the Greek Word éthnos; “where we get the word ethnic, meaning, race”.[1] In the last days we will witness ethnic groups coming against each other.

What I noticed about racism is that it is never direct; it always finds an excuse to reject another group. The devil loves to divide us, so he always finds ways to do that. In America, for example, blacks were not considered 100 percent human by Anglos; that was the greatest justification for the atrocities of slavery. Society has changed, thank God, even animals have rights and people who are passionate about advocating for them.

This demonic spirit of racism has also found its way in the church. As a matter of fact, it did from the very beginning. In Galatians 2:11-21 we read the story of how the devil brought in racism and how he justified it. 

Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.

14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? 15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. New King James Version (NKJV)

Peter had no problem hanging around the gentiles; we have to remember that God gave Peter the revelation that the Gentiles were also welcomed into the Kingdom (Acts 10). However, there were still some doctrinal issues that were hot buttons in the church. Many Jews wanted to also add their cultural practices to the gentiles. Paul resisted this idea with a passion as he states, “…knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ…” Galatians 2:16. Paul called this way of thinking, “hypocrisy” and even the great Barnabas was carried away with such hypocrisy. 

Do we still have cultural division in our churches? Yes, and plenty of it! It is expressed in the style of music we prefer & consider as holy, the instruments we play, our expressions of praise and worship (clapping, dancing, lifting of hands), styles of preaching and so on. The good news is that in the last days the church will also be ready for the coming of the Lord; we will learn how to love each other. The Spirit of God will bring us together and erase the spirit of racism; we will indeed come together under the culture of the Bible. It will be one of the most impressive things the world will ever witness.  

[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

Spiritual Punks 6

Hello, before reading this article I encourage you to read Spiritual PunksSpiritual Punks 2,  Spiritual Punks 3 , Spiritual Punks 4 and Spiritual Punks 5 so that you can see the context. God bless you!

  1. The Message to the church of Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-21

14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (NIV)

Laodicea is a big church filled with resources, but like the church of Sardis, this church has a problem thinking that they are what they are not. Jesus say of this church, “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” Revelation 3:17 (NIV). 

How can a church be so wrong? How can they see themselves so successful while Jesus sees them as pitiful, poor, blind and naked? Again, I go back to the root of the problem; these churches are not listening to what the Spirit of God is saying; they have lost all sensitivity to the Holy Ghost. 


We have been able to see that what makes us spiritual punks is not confronting false doctrines. Many churches are filled with a wrong idea of love, mercy, grace, prosperity, peace, unity and so on. In the name of love or, in the name of not attacking the Bride of Christ or, not getting involved in politics, we remain quiet and allow these false doctrines to go uncheck. 

Some pastors are afraid of answering straight questions regarding homosexuality, abortion or Black Lives Matter. They hide behind the expression “only God can judge the heart.” On the other hand, they describe those who confront these demonic doctrines as “judgmental” or having a “critical spirit” or, having no love. So, what do we do? We punk out when faced with tough questions regarding Joel Osteen, TD Jakes, Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland, Hillsong, Elevation Church, Bethel, etc. We allow this crap in our churches without discussion; without confronting anything! 

On this series we have been able to clearly see that out of the seven churches, two are in great standing before the Lord, Smyrna and Philadelphia. Smyrna is filled with tribulation and is promised even more tribulation coming. The only consolation they are receiving from Jesus has nothing to do with the present life; their only consolation is eternal life with Christ. It seems like that is sufficient for this church. Philadelphia, on the other hand, is described by Jesus as having little power (Revelation 3:8). Neither one of these churches will look successful by today’s standards, but they are, by God’s standards and, that is all that should matter. These are the two churches that we should emulate. 

The remaining 5 churches are in serious trouble. Three of these churches are in trouble for allowing and not confronting false doctrines; those are Ephesus, Pergamum and Thyatira. Two are in trouble with Jesus because they were deceived and thought they were what they are not; those are Sardis and Laodicea. Think about this for a minute, 71.43% of the seven churches are in trouble with Jesus; only 28.57% are in good standing. If you just move to a new town and are looking for a local church and you are struggling… this is why! I encourage you today with the words of Jesus, a word that he repeated 7 times as he was speaking to the seven churches, “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Are you listening?

Spiritual Punks 5

Hello, before reading this article I encourage you to read Spiritual PunksSpiritual Punks 2,  Spiritual Punks 3 and Spiritual Punks 4 ……so that you can see the context. God bless you!

6. The Message to the church of Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13)

“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:

These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.

11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. 13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (NIV)

The church of Philadelphia is one of only two of the seven churches that is in right standing with Jesus. The church of Philadelphia joins Smyrna as a church that Jesus had nothing but good things to say about. Of Smyrna Jesus said, “I know your tribulation and your poverty…” (Revelation 2:9) of Philadelphia Jesus said, “…I know that you have little strength…” (Revelation 3:8) Neither one of these churches was a fancy, charismatic, rich mega church. Three characteristics stand out of these two churches: 

  1. They experience tribulation: The word tribulation is the Greek word thlípsis; meaning, “to crush, press, compress, squeeze, which is from thláō (n.f.), to break. Tribulation, trouble, affliction. In a figurative manner, pressure from evils, affliction, distress.”[1]
  2. They were poor
  3. They had little strength

Do you know any church that wants to project these characteristics? By today’s standards, who will consider a church that is filled with tribulation, who is poor and with little power a success? Not by today’s standards. I am sure the churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia did not necessarily choose these characteristics; but these was the price they paid for truly following Jesus.  These two churches were not “changing the world”. Have you ever heard that the church is called to change the world? Well, this may sound great and honorable, but is not biblical… at all! But, as always, we never lack false teachings. Let’s take a look at The  7 Mountains Mandate, also known as The 7 Mountains Prophesy.

The seven mountain mandate or the seven mountain prophecy is an anti-biblical and damaging movement that has gained a following in some Charismatic and Pentecostal churches. Those who follow the seven mountain mandate believe that, in order for Christ to return to earth, the church must take control of the seven major spheres of influence in society for the glory of Christ. Once the world has been made subject to the kingdom of God, Jesus will return and rule the world.

Here are the seven mountains, according to the seven-mountain mandate:

1) Education
2) Religion
3) Family
4) Business
5) Government/Military
6) Arts/Entertainment
7) Media

The theology associated with the seven-mountain mandate is dangerous, and it sheds a terribly negative light on Christians everywhere. The 7-M teaching puts a tremendous burden on believers to perform, make progress in their relative spheres of influence, and set the stage for Jesus’ return to earth—all without a definite end point. Little emphasis is placed on the gospel message of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ; the movement is more about staking claims and taking control. The seven-mountain mandate is a movement led by false prophets, and it should be avoided and exposed whenever Bible-believing Christians encounter it.[2]

The world, that is, the secular world, belongs to Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4). The world is irreconcilable. The world is Babylon, the world is evil and has absolutely no hope. First John 2:16-17 tell us “For everything in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–comes not from the Father but from the world. he world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (NIV) We know that God loves the people in the world, He loves the lost with a passion according to John 3:16. That is why God sent his Son to die for our sins, that’s why the gospel exist; that is the maximum expression of God’s love; nothing else need to added or taken away. Our job is not to change the world, our job is to preach the gospel and see God snatching folks from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. The church of Philadelphia and the church of Smyrna understood this… do we? 

To be continued…

[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[2] https://www.gotquestions.org/seven-mountain-mandate.html

Spiritual Punks 4

Hello, before reading this article I encourage you to read Spiritual PunksSpiritual Punks 2 and Spiritual Punks 3 so that you can see the context. God bless you!

So far, through this series, we have seen four churches; three of them are in trouble for allowing certain doctrines to infiltrate the church by folks who pretend to be Christians. The false doctrines were the Nicolaitans, Balaam and Jezebel. Also, there were those who pretended to be Jews but were of the Synagogue of Satan and those who pretended to be apostles and were not. 

The Church in Sardis had a different problem. They were deceived by thinking they were what they were not. The Church of Sardis thought that they were alive, but in reality, they were dead.  

5. The Message to the church of Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6)

“To the angel of the church in Sardis write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Revelation 3:1-6 (NIV)

This church seems to have the right worship team, the right music, the right building, a dynamic pastor, a large congregation, etc. but Jesus characterized this church as dead. I propose to you that the reason this church was dead is because these are the kind of churches that are run like businesses. They got it all together good, but the Holy Ghost is nowhere to be found. See, this church forgot what they received and heard (Revelation 3:2). They have become so sophisticated that they have forgotten about the Holy Ghost. This church knows how to network, how to advertise, how to use social media, etc. and like every good business, they are doing well, but they did it their way; the anointing of God is not there. The activities and diverse functions of the Holy Ghost are not there. Everything, and I mean everything… is programed!!!!

To be continued…

Spiritual Punks 3

Hello, before reading this article I encourage you to read Spiritual Punks and Spiritual Punks 2 so that you can see the context. God bless you!

3. The Message to the church of Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17)

This church seems to be in a rough side of town (Revelation 2:13), but they are holding on to Jesus Name and, they are not denying their faith, even on the face of death. They sound pretty good! However, they are letting a lethal false doctrine sneak in; they are actually letting sin in openly. This is where we begin to see Spiritual Punks in leadership. Revelation 2:13-16 tells us,

‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. 15 So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth. (NASB)

This is a good warning for all of us. Notice how strong this church is regarding holding on to the Name of Jesus and notice how strong they are in their faith; but at the same time how weak they are when it comes down to these doctrines that promotes sexual immorality. 

Curiously, most other biblical references to Balaam are negative. Though the account described above reports that he refused to curse Israel and rejected the handsome payment offered by the Moabite king, other texts denounce him as a prophet for hire (Josh 13:22Josh 24:9, and Neh 13:2) and report his execution (Num 31:8) as punishment for involvement in the Baal Peor incident (Num 25), where he is blamed for inciting Moabite women to entice Israelite men to sin.[1]

Later in chapter 2 of Revelation, the author seems to link the practices of the Nicolaitans with the practices of those who listened to Balaam (Revelation 2:14-15). Those who followed Balaam back in Numbers used Midianite women to seduce the men of Israel and lead them to worship other gods. Examples of such acts have played out with Solomon, for instance, when his wives from pagan religions led him astray and after other gods (1 Kings 11:1-5). Because Revelation seems to link Balaam with the Nicolaitans, one can assume the church of Ephesus faced a similar dilemma. Immersed in pagan Roman culture in that city, the sect of the Nicolaitans may have attempted to woo the Christians away from their religion, just as they had been wooed before.[2]

It is important to point out that Jesus stated, “…because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam…” It was not the entire church, but the problem was the church’s leadership was not paying attention. I wonder if they justify all these mess under the umbrella of love, mercy, grace, peace and unity; but Jesus tells this church to repent.

4. The Message to the church of Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29)

‘I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first.20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. 23 And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. 24 But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them—I place no other burden on you.25 Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. 26 He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; 27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ Revelation 2:19-29 (NASB)

The first thing that I want to point out is the perfect justice of God. This church is under severe judgment of God; they received a very serious warning with devastating consequences. However, in verses 24 and 25 the Lord stated, “But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them—I place no other burden on you.25 Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come.” Even in the worst churches there will still be people that are honestly following God and are perhaps, the people God will use to bring the church to repentance.

Again, we see a problem in this church and, again, the problem is not related to the church building or parking expansion or the color of the new sanctuary… the problem has to do directly with the false doctrine these spiritual punks are allowing to infiltrate in their local churches; “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” This church was allowing the spirit of Jezebel to run freely in the church. 

As detailed in 1 Kings 16:31-32, Jezebel persuaded her husband to promote the worship of deities, Baal and Asherah, among the people of Israel. It was common during this era of kingdoms for the king to establish worship facilities for foreign wives. In this case, Jezebel required the installation of a temple and an altar for Baal, which was built in Samaria. Since she was Phoenician, Jezebel more than likely had a role that was more active than what was normal in Hebrew rule… 

During Ahab’s reign in Israel, the people were deeply divided as to either worship and serve Baal or the Lord. Animosities were so heighted that Jezebel ordered the death of the Lord’s prophets, while she fully supported the prophets of Baal and Asherah. Obadiah was a governor in the region who greatly feared the Lord. He protected 100 of the Lord’s prophets, hiding them in caves and feeding them (1 Kings 18:3-4).[3]

The Jezebel spirit is very active in the church today. It is not only a spirit that promotes sexual immorality as a way to move God’s people away from God, but there is even greater danger. The spirit of Jezebel hates the prophets. The Apostle Paul stated that he wishes that all prophesize (I Corinthians 14:5), but have you notice that it is rare to see a church that flows in the prophetic? You wonder why? The Jezebel spirit, that’s the reason why! Look at the brutal consequences that God has reserved for those who partake of this spirit, “Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. 23 And I will kill her children with pestilence…” Revelation 2:22-23 (NASB) Beloved, this spirit will bring forth sickness and death; the death of our children. This should get our attention. 

To be continued…

[1] https://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/places/related-articles/the-story-of-balaam

[2] https://www.christianity.com/wiki/people/who-were-the-nicolaitans-in-revelation-why-did-god-hate-their-practices-so-much.html  

[3] https://www.christianity.com/wiki/people/who-was-jezebel-in-the-bible-what-was-she-really-like.html

Spiritual Punks 2

Hello, before reading this article I encourage you to read Spiritual Punks so that you can see the context. God bless you!

The first step in becoming spiritual punks is ignoring the Holy Ghost and embracing what the world likes. This is a desire to please the world above a desire to please the Father. We embrace a false sense of love, mercy and grace and pursue a false fulfilment of peace. We suppose that Jesus came to bring peace to the earth (Matthew 10:34). Well, you may want to check your theology! We fear the expressions of the Holy Ghost because we don’t want to look weird or crazy; we rather look sophisticated or cool or whatever self-expression we invent in our heads concerning what church should be and, we leave the Holy Ghost out. We occasionally mentioned Him, but in reality, He is nowhere to be found; we leave no room for Him; we programmed everything according to our taste and culture. On this series we will see in detailed, as we continue to study the Seven Churches in Revelations 1, 2 and 3, how becoming spiritual punks actually looks like. 

  1. The Message to the Church of Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7)

Jesus start by giving this church great compliments,  “I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary.” Revelation 2:2-3 (NASB) 

Part of the compliments here is that this church does not tolerate evil men and they actually test those who call themselves apostles. This is important because what I see is that we rather eliminate the apostles and false prophets rather than confronting those who are false. This church also hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which God hated to. The Nicolaitans comes from the Greek Word Nikolaı̈́tēs

The Nicolaitans were ancient sect whose deeds were expressly and strongly reprobate (Rev. 2:6, 5). Some have supposed that they were the followers of Nicolas (Acts 6:5), one of the first deacons of the church, whom they regard as having apostatized from the true faith. For this view, however, there is no authority. Others regard the term “Nicolaitans” as a symbolic expression. Since Nicolaos means victor of the people and Balaam means devourer of the people, the two in symbolic unity signify religious seducers of the people. It is more probable that the Nicolaitans were identical with those who held the doctrine of Balaam, mentioned in Rev. 2:14 (cf. 2 Pet. 2:15), so that likely the Nicolaitans practiced fornication and the eating of things sacrificed to idols while outwardly professing Christianity.[1]

The Ephesus church was not an example of spiritual punks, but there is a powerful lesson to be learned here. They were so busy doing good deeds and fighting these bad doctrines that they forgot about their first love. Beloved, in the midst of all, we must continue to love God above all things, love people, be easy to forgive others, embrace those who have repented, have compassion and so on; that is the divine balance. 

2. The Message to the church of Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11)

This church should be an example for all of us. I know that there is nobody perfect, but Jesus has nothing negative to say about this church. They are humble, they are confrontational, and they are facing tribulation and death. Jesus encouraged them with the Crown of Life. Notice that Jesus do not offered them anything on this dimension of life. Wow! No prosperity Gospel here! 

‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days.Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:9-10 (NASB)

Satan is a deceiver; he comes as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) and his prophets come like wolves in sheep clothing (Matthew 7:15). But we call everybody a brother in the Lord, even those who profess a different Gospel. But not Smyrna, they knew those who came as if they were Jews, but in reality, were of the synagogue of Satan. Well, so far, no spiritual punks here either. 

To be continued…

[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

Spiritual Punks

In the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation Jesus wasted no time in dealing with the church. These seven churches, I am convinced, are the 7 kinds of churches that existed then and that exist today. I know we have thousands of denominations, but they all fit in one of these seven categories. 

My focus, as I study these churches, is on demonstrating that this hyper message on grace and love is very damaging and that God himself will deal with us when we become spiritual punks who do nothing to confront the sin, bad theology and bad teachings that are constantly infiltrating our churches.  In the name of mercy, grace, peace, unity and love, we are compromising our faith. We become friends of the world as we water down the gospel. In the process, we become enemies of God. James 4:4 tells us, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”(NASB)

Before we go into what makes us spiritual punks, lets deal with our first problem… ignoring the Spirit of God. The expression “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” is repeated seven times; one for each church.  We have seven kinds of churches and to each of these churches Jesus tells them to listen to the Spirit. 

I know that some churches place a lot of emphasis on the Word and, they should, everything is confirmed there. However, the problem is when we grab God’s Word and we go as far as teaching and preaching out of that book without the Holy Spirit. Beloved, this New Covenant is not of the Letter, but of the Spirit. Second Corinthians 3:4-6 tells us, 

Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (NASB)

The Spirit does not come to, in anyway, contradict the Scripture; to the contrary, it is through the Spirit that we get proper insight of the Scripture. If you want to understand the Word of God properly, let the Spirit teach you. If you want to minister God’s Word properly, lets the Spirit guide you. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” 

Our first problem is that we do not listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. We are listening to what our denominations are saying to the churches and what is worst… what the culture is saying to the churches or, what a seminary is saying to the churches or, what our own personal agendas and ambitions are saying to the churches. But Jesus, our King and Lord is saying… “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” 

In John 1:4 the Bible makes reference to the Seven Spirits who are before the throne. It is important to study these seven Spirits because they are also mentioned in Revelation 3:1. What are these seven Spirits? Isaiah 11:1-2 actually named each one of these Spirits,

Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
The Spirit of theLordwill rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of theLord. (NASB)

Before you think that I am getting weird hear let me make it clear that there is only One Spirit (Ephesians 4:4) However, what we are looking at here are the functions or activities of the Holy Spirit moreover, in the Old Testament. In the New Testament the Holy Spirit has more involvement in God’s people that he did in the Old Testament. To start, we are blessed with the indwelling of the Holy Ghost (First Corinthians 3:16); but let’s stop there. What are the seven Spirits of God stating by Isaiah?

  1. The Spirit of the Lord

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus. He comes from the Father and his main job is to testify of Jesus (John 15:26). Who can better testify of Jesus than his Spirit? Do we think that we can do a better a job?

  • The Spirit of Wisdom

chokmah (חָכְמָה, 2451), “wisdom; experience; shrewdness.” This word appears 141 times in the Old Testament. Like chakam, most occurrences of this word are in Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. The chakam seeks after chokmah, “wisdom.” Like chakam, the word chokmah can refer to technical skills or special abilities in fashioning something. The first occurrence of chokmah is in Exod. 28:3: “And thou shalt speak unto all that are wisehearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.” This first occurrence of the word in the Hebrew Bible bears this out as well as the description of the workers on the tabernacle. The artisan was considered to be endowed with special abilities given to him by God: “And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship (Exod. 35:31).[1]

  • The Spirit of Understanding

binah (בִּינָה, 998), “understanding.” Binah appears 37 times and in all periods of biblical Hebrew even though it belongs primarily to the sphere of wisdom and wisdom literature. This noun represents the “act of understanding.[2]

  • The Spirit of Counsel (Essentially, divine advice)
  • The Spirit of Strength

geburah (גְּבוּרָה, 1369), “might.” This noun is found 61 times in the Hebrew Old Testament, predominantly in poetic books and in Isaiah and Jeremiah. The first occurrence is in Exod. 32:18: “And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.” The primary meaning of geburah is “power” or “strength.[3]

  • The Spirit of Knowledge

daʿaṯ: A feminine noun meaning knowledge, knowing, learning, discernment, insight, and notion. The word occurs forty of its ninety-one times in Proverbs as one of the many words associated with the biblical concept of wisdom. The root meaning of the term is knowledge or knowing. In Proverbs 24:3, 4, it is the third word in a chain of three words describing the building of a house by wisdom, the establishment of that house by understanding, and finally, the filling of the rooms of the house by knowledge.[4]

  • The Spirit of the Fear of the Lord

yirʾāh: A feminine noun meaning fear. The word usually refers to the fear of God and is viewed as a positive quality. This fear acknowledges God’s good intentions (Ex. 20:20). It will motivate and delight even the Messiah (Isa. 11:2, 3). This fear is produced by God’s Word (Ps. 119:38; Prov. 2:5) and makes a person receptive to wisdom and knowledge (Prov. 1:7; 9:10). It is even identified with wisdom (Job 28:28; Prov. 15:33). The fear of the Lord may be lost by despair of one’s own situation (Job 6:14) or envy of a sinner’s (Prov. 23:17). This fear restrains people from sin (Gen. 20:11; Ex. 20:20; Neh. 5:9); gives confidence (Job 4:6; Prov. 14:26); helps rulers and causes judges to act justly (2 Sam. 23:3; 2 Chr. 19:9; Neh. 5:15); results in good sleep (Prov. 19:23); with humility, leads to riches, honor, and life (Prov. 22:4). The word also refers to the fear of briers and thorns (Isa. 7:25); and the fear of Israel that would fall on other nations (Deut. 2:25).[5]

When we insist in not listening to what the Spirit has to say to the churches we are missing out on so much. We are missing out on the full development of the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), we are missing out on the Gifts of the Spirit (First Corinthians 12) and we are missing out on the 7 essential characteristics of the Spirits of God; a church without the Spirit of Jesus, without divine wisdom, divine understanding, divine counsel, divine strength,  divine knowledge and a church without fear or reverence for God. Well, good luck with that! 

To be continued…

[1] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 290–291.

[2] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 273.

[3] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 151.

[4] Warren Baker and Eugene E. Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), 245.

[5] Warren Baker and Eugene E. Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), 471.

How Much is God and How Much is Our Culture?

These days I have been meditating on a lot of things, including my journey through many local churches from Florida, to North Carolina, to Alaska and now Arizona. I have been in pentecostal and baptist churches, some had predominately White congregations and others had predominately Black congregations. I have been a part of multicultural and bilingual churches with a mostly Hispanic congregation as well as non-denominational churches. It fascinates me that in every church, the culture, for the most part, dictates the style of the Sunday Service.  

            What intrigues me is that you take a traditional white man who grew up in a white Baptist church and you put him in a black Pentecostal church, and he will come out of there saying that it was all emotionalism. Likewise, you take a black man and put him in an all-white church, and he may find it so boring that he may fall asleep. What is this? If God is truly in it, how can God be boring? 

I believe that what we are witnessing is the fulfilment of 2 Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (NIV) We adapt to a particular system, to a particular style, to a particular way of preaching and teaching and to a particular order of service. I wonder, how much of what we see on Sundays is God and, how much is just our culture?

One thing I know, when the shekinah glory of God take over our Constantine-made services, the preachers will no longer be able to control the service, it will be God doing so himself. If it happened in the Old Testament, how much more in the New?

Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house. The priests could not enter into the house of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house. All the sons of Israel, seeing the fire come down and the glory of the Lord upon the house, bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave praise to the Lord, saying, “Truly He is good, truly His lovingkindness is everlasting.” 2 Chronicles 7:1-3 (NASB)

Love Tells the Truth

Human love focusses on not hurting other people’s feelings. It is very concern about the other person’s emotions. Human love rarely confronts anything; it finds many reasons not to. “We will love people into the kingdom” they say. Human love does not deal with sin or the need for repentance or the need to surrender to God. Human love tells people how good they are, how wonderful they are and how amazing their heart is. Human love allows grown men and grown women to live under their parent’s roof rent free, jobless and without helping around the house. Human love allows children to disrespect their parents… after all, their parent’s focus is on making them happy. Amazingly so, the Bible tells us “He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” Proverbs 13:24 (NASB) Human love allows our annoying friends to continue to be annoying without any correction. That’s the point, Human love does not correct anything! 

Sadly, Human love is infecting our churches with the excuse of a false unity; “let’s all get alone; lets ignore heresies, lets ignore folks who preach a different gospel and, lets remove anything controversial.” They say. In reality, human love is arrogant because it places the attention on us rather than God; in the “loving” way we do thing compare to others.

God’s love is totally contrary to this human love. God’s love is all those wonderful things we find in First Corinthians 13, but without ignoring two key ingredients:

  1. Love delights in truth: (First Corinthians 13:6): 

Beloved, at the end of the day, you can’t divorce love from the truth; no matter how difficult that truth may be. The Bible tells us that “…ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32 (KJV). There is no freedom without truth and there is no love without it either. See, we want to be nice, we want to visit the guys in prison, we want to cloth the naked, feed the hungry and so on, but without verbalizing the gospel what you are doing is not a ministry. 

The gospel is not in the T Shirt you give away, the blanket, the bowl of soup or in the sandwich. Where is the gospel? Romans 10:8 tells us, But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching…” (NASB) Some preachers want to be so sophisticated and so cool that they actually say, “I don’t come to preach.” They believe that their charity and good behavior is all that is needed. If that is so, Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates got you beat in charity for sure. 

We must preach the gospel… we must verbalize the gospel; we MUST TELL THE TRUTH! Jesus tells us in Matthew 16:26, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (KJV) But what some folks are doing is looking for friendship with the world and, when you do that, you become an enemy of God, according to James 4:4.

  • Love disciplines and scourges: (Hebrews 12:6) 

This is the Greek word, paideúō; meaning “To bring up a child, to educate, used of activity directed toward the moral and spiritual nurture and training of the child, to influence conscious will and action. To instruct, particularly a child or youth.[1] In today’s world one thing is truth, nobody want anybody to tell them what to do or how to do it. Satan is making sure that folks have a twisted idea of love, so when they receive love, they can’t even recognize it. The word mastigóō; meaning “to whip, to scourge. Used figuratively of God, meaning to chastise, correct.”[2] Scourge does not sound good either; it is to discipline people into knowing and learning the truth and suffer consequences when they depart from it. This is for their own good, not to harm them, but to bless them.

Jesus died for the truth; the greatest trust of all. He delivered this truth in the perfect way as he himself was perfect… it can’t get any better than that. However, men hated that truth! The apostles suffer tragic death because of that same truth; the earth is filled with the blood of the saints because of that same truth. “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” John 3:19 (NIV) Yes, we all need to get better in our delivery, in our attitudes, in our walk etc., but at the end of the day you are not loving anybody if you are not telling the truth… love tells the truth. 

[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[2] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

Addressing Bethel, Hillsong and Elevation Music, Church and Doctrine

I have been singing for as long as I can remember. I have been singing for the Lord for a little over 20 years. I don’t listen to much music around the house or in my car. In my car I mostly listen to Talk Radio and some sports. I don’t keep up to date on any music. Every now and then I hear a song that grabs my spirit and those are the songs I enjoy singing. 

I have been out of music ministry for some time now; I honestly prefer teaching God’s Word. As I returned to singing in church, I noticed very quickly that, is about impossible to be a part of any “contemporary” church and escape Hillsong, Bethel and Elevation music. Well, little did I know, that each one of these names represents the names of three Mega Churches. Little did I know that these three churches are teaching heresy:

Hillsong Church

This is an Assemblies of God Church located in Sydney, Australia under the leadership of Pastor Bryan Houston with a membership of over 20,000 members. They started making music in 1983. Bryan Houston strongly subscribes to the Prosperity Gospel. They adopt a Joel Austin approach to the Gospel. This is a watered down gospel of self-help that avoids addressing sin. Please watch the following video for more details: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6nSe8tPYw0.

Bethel Church

This is a charismatic non-denominational mega church located in Redding, California under the leadership of Pastor Bill Johnson with a membership of over 11,000 members. They started making music in 2001. My Lord, this guy is crazy! Bill teaches that Jesus was all man when he came to earth, not God and, that Jesus’ perfect relationship with God gave him the power to do all the miracles he did. They also practice Grave Sucking: this is the idea that you can go to the grave of whomever and suck the anointing out of their remains. How did these folks come up with that stuff? Please watch the following video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SmYzDIXekk.

Elevation Church

This is a Southern Baptist Denomination church located in Charlotte, North Carolina. The church started in February 5th, 2006 under the leadership of Pastor Steven Furtick with a weekly attendance of about 25,000 people. Steven Furtick denies the trinity; he teaches that Jesus was transformed to the Holy Spirit. This guy is extremely talented in twisting the Bible and making it sound intelligent and entertaining. Young folks love him! For more details on the heresy or this church please watch the following videos, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKuP9BJ3448 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvKrO-hYpyE

We have to particularly pay special attention to music. The big problem with music is that is closely related to our worship and worship flows out of the innermost part in us, our spirit. If I corrupt my worship, I am corrupting everything else. Jesus stated in John 4:24, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (NASB).

Some folks may say, “but Angel, they have some good songs that are biblical.” I am sure they do and, I expect for them to do so; after all the devil is a deceiver (Revelation 12:9).  The devil does not tell us 100% lies, he mixes in truth with lies; that is why he is effective in deceiving people. These three churches are dominating Christian music around the world. To support their music is to support their ministry and to support their ministry is to support the false gospel they are preaching.

The Apostle Paul stated in Galatians 1:8 that “…even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” (NASB) After doing my research on these churches I will no longer sing any of their songs; not because I feel that I am holier than anybody, but because I am already a mess in certain areas in my life and, I don’t need to knowingly, add anymore.  

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