We are living in a world of wickedness, corruption, hypocrisy, pride, lust, greed, deception, cheating and infidelity. All these have their roots in our self; and it is manifested when the spirit of man becomes slave to his flesh. All these characters are very evident among people. God Almighty does not tolerate it and He grieves “Then the Lord saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil, continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said I will destroy man whom I have created, from the face of the earth.” (Genesis 6: 5-7)
Again we read in Genesis 18:20 & 21 “And the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because of their sin is very grave”. We also see God regretting for making Saul King over His people, Israel. He says “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as King, for he has turned back from following me, has not performed my commandments.”
The greatness of our God is that worship of a righteous Man, Noah altered God’s plan and brought great blessing to the mankind. Genesis 8:20-22 “Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took of every clean animal and of every clean Bird and offered burnt offering on the Alter. And the Lord smelled the soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, I will never again curse the ground for man sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. While the earth remains seed-time and harvest, cold and Heat, winter and summer, day and night shall not cease.”
In the New Testament Apostle Paul remarks about his fellow worker, Demas. 2 Timothy 4:10 – “for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica”. The fallen people have an open door to repent and return. As the Word of God says there will be a great joy when a sinner repents and returns to the Lord (Luke 15:7).
I am very much pained to write about the present condition of the Body of Christ. In this secular world we hear about counterfeit money, documents, stamps and stamp papers, degrees and so on. It is very sad that it has also crept in to the Church, particularly among those who claim to be Spirit filled worshippers. They are smart enough to show of everything with all originality.
“Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between right and wrong; rather, it is telling the difference between right and almost right.” ~ C.H. Spurgeon.The definition of COUNTERFEIT is “a thing made or done so that it is very similar to the original, made in order to deceive the innocents to achieve selfish motives.” It is very difficult for common people to distinguish the original from the counterfeit just as it is difficult to identify the real currency and the counterfeit one. But it is very easy for a person, who has the ability to discern without allowing the rule of emotion or feelings. There are experts in the world who can easily distinguish counterfeit from the original. Some pastors avoid rebuking or do not have the boldness to confront them. As we look in to the Word of God, we come across king Jeroboam, once a servant of King Solomon. He made counterfeit gods (the two calves of gold) in order to protect his position as king. He provided a visible god near and convenient to them instead of going a long way. (1 Kings 12: 25-33)
Perhaps the idea of golden calves was adopted from Aaron the high priest. Aaron came under the pressure of the people when Moses was delayed in coming down from Mount Sinai. He made a golden calf and gave it to the people saying here is the God who brought you out of the house of bondage (Egypt). Exodus 32:1-8. This draws people to an emotional and expressive response of the flesh.
Secondly, he made counterfeit worship places in Bethel and Dan in order to stop the people of God from going to the right place, Jerusalem (The house of God) to save his own life. Thirdly, he appointed counterfeit priests who are not from the priestly tribe, the Levites and continued with counterfeit sacrifices, counterfeit worship and counterfeit feasts. We can see the result of this counterfeit in 1Kings 13. In conclusion, the counterfeit ends in total destruction.
It is sad that Christendom is heading towards a counterfeit order. With my limited understanding, I have found out the following reasons for a counterfeit order.
- The Family
It is in families that the genuineness of serving, fearing, trusting and following God are learned and practiced. The head of the family should take initiative in bringing up the children in the fear of the Lord and acknowledge the Lord’s headship. In Psalm 101 the psalmist confesses his faithfulness to the Lord, “I will behave wisely in a perfect way, Oh when you will come to me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set nothing wicked (worthless) before my eyes. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me”. “A perverse heart shall depart from me; will not know wickedness. Whoever slanders his neighbour, him I will destroy. The one who has a haughty look and a proud heart, him I will not endure.”
In Acts 10 we see Cornelius “A devout Man and one who feared God with his entire Household, who gave alms generously to the people and prayed to God always.”
These days, many in the shepherding ministry are content with the sound of music, shouting and screaming by the congregation. People are asked to clap, lift hands, shout Hallelujah, leap and dance. The sad thing is that they do all these to please men and not God.
One day I asked a young man why he lifted his hands, and his reply was that the pastor said so. He did not know why the pastor asked him to do that. They are like program managers and are least bothered about leading people to holiness, commitment, dedication, or salvation. These leaders fail to lead them into the presence of God. Some leaders themselves are not in the presence of God, as they are over-burdened with things, which they try to handle by their own strength. If the people experience the presence of God they would lift their hand, clap, and weep for joy and in repentance.
Prophet Elijah brought the fire of God at Mount Carmel and all the people saw it and fell on their faces and said “The Lord, He is God! The Lord He is God!” What a powerful worship of a single man of God. The shepherd should stand in this conviction; “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. I live by faith in the Son of God, who loves me and gave himself for me.”
1Timothy: 3:4, 5. “One who rules his house well having his children in submission with all reverence. (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the Church of God?)”
Many servants of God declare that they have peace in their houses. The fact is that they have failed to make their house a home but have made it a hostel. If there are five members in the family, all of them are free to move in their own direction. The head of the family will have an excuse, he is a servant of God and the mother of the house will have her reason, she is working or some other excuses; and the children enjoy full freedom to go and come back any time at night to the ‘hostel’. There is neither fellowship nor sharing the Lord’s headship in the family for days together. The real foundation of a Church should be the family. One may be an excellent preacher or a teacher, but he should know that practical fellowship starts at home. We see some pastors who choose to serve the Lord in order to drop their children school and bring them back, and the rest of the time serving the Lord. Just imagine the devoted life of Cornelius with his whole family. It has become a memorial before God and God has sent Apostle Peter to him.
Many a time the leaders come with many plans. They would initiate and involve themselves only at the starting stage, and expect the people to do the rest. I have come across leaders who have never reached the finishing line. The reason for this is given in Matthew 23:4 & 13-15. Many times I doubt seriously about some servants of God, whether they serve the Lord for His Glory or for their own, build a tower for themselves; a Babel tower; “let us make a name for ourselves (Genesis 11:4).
If you are looking for your own name and fame through the ministry, it is a Counterfeit ministry. Paul refers a man, “Epaphras…who is for you a faithful minister of Christ.” (Col. 1: 7) He was pastor of the church in Colossae. He was known as a faithful minister of Christ. Paul mentions in his prayer Col. (4 :12 ) “Epaphras who is one of you, a bond servant of Christ greets you, always labouring fervently for you in Prayers that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” Another person Paul refers is Epaphroditus as “my brother and companion in Labour and fellow soldier” who brought supplies from Phillippi to Paul. (Phil. 2:25& 26 and, 4:18).
John 12:24 “Most assuredly I say to you, Unless a grain of wheat falls in to the ground and dies it abides alone, but if it dies, it produces much grain.” A grain can die only if it falls in to the ground, if not, it is a counterfeit work.
One should be sure of his calling and election and should remain in the calling. 2 Peter 1:10 says, “Therefore brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble.” Some servants, who are not sure of their calling and election, create real confusion in their ministry. They start as evangelists, plant church, then orphanage, then school, then medical mission, old age home and their mission publication, which is used as a media for fund raising. I am not at all against all these ministries. If the Lord is leading in that direction, surely He will provide. The very sad part is that often the employees are not paid enough to survive.
If God has called you to be an evangelist, please remain in that till the Lord leads you to another level. One should be very open to hear from God and obey. One should not be like Jonah the Prophet whom the Lord asked to go to Nineveh and preach (not to Prophecy). Though God taught him a good lesson for his disobedience and asked to preach, he went and prophesied and waited for Nineveh’s destruction; and got annoyed when it did not take place. He did not realise that preaching goes with passion, compassion and forgiveness. Remember that whatever you do for your personal gain, in stubbornness, is also a counterfeit one. The name of the Lord will not be glorified through such ministries.
Pastor Ravi Raj
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