IT IS NOTHING!
Among the signs of the times that we are in the Falling Away and that the rising tide of lawlessness is well on the way to overwhelming us is the large churches you saw on TV during the Christmas season who exhibit more the gospel of prosperity than the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even secular news has picked up on how these large churches like Lakewood in Houston, Prestonwood in Dallas, Second Baptist in Houston, and Saddleback in California are among the 61% of Christians who believe in the Gospel of Wealth. Joel Osteen and Rick Warren have reached the best seller list with this popular version of the Gospel of Wealth and the corollary of success. Even when Warren exhibits a false sense of humility with the line that “I am just a pastor that grew a large church”, there is the obvious effort to make a good impression, which is working, of the numbers of people that have been attracted to these churches like at Saddleback and Lakewood. And you will notice that Warren will quickly add how many hundreds of churches he has taught his “purpose-driven” teachings to in the world, and how many churches in the United States.
Yes, this message is popular as is the message of Frank Gramm at Prestonwood and that of Joel Osteen at Lakewood. Danger! Popularity is a bad sign now that we are in the Falling Away since one of the prime signs of the times during the Falling Away is that church members will amass (the exact words are “will heap up to themselves teachers with itching ears”) Bible teachers and preachers of unsound doctrine. Do not be deceived it is not like over 50 years ago when the Bible preaching of Billy Graham was so popular throughout the world, because that was well before the falling away into the Falling Away. You noticed how even the vast popularity of Billy Graham began to dissipate approximately 30 years ago as the rising tide of lawlessness and Gospel perversion took hold in churches and Bible teachers across the world.
Quickly before getting into the “it is nothing” in reference to those large churches you saw on TV at Christmas, let us mention just a few of the signs in the United States and the rest of the world that we are now in the Falling Away that must happen before the Second Coming of Christ. First, there are more signs of the Second Coming and the Falling Away according to II Thessalonians must happened approximately 40-80 years before the Second Coming of Christ. More and more you see the world and in particular the Middle East lining up for the last great battle of Armageddon as the Muslins come against Jerusalem and the camp of the saints outside Jerusalem, and when Christ intervenes with His Second Coming to destroy this vast army, no doubt led by Iran and the President of Iran who has made clear that they desire the destruction of the Jews. Second, there is the popularity of the Gospel of Prosperity, formerly called in American Studies the Doctrine of the Gospel of Wealth and the corollary of success. By the way, you saw the Gospel of Prosperity in action in those large, comfortable auditoriums with the lavish choir robes and consumes and suits. It was impressive that all that talent could be assembled in the name of Christ and in order to proclaim the name of the Christ at Christmas. But what we saw more than the Gospel of Christ was the Gospel of Large Numbers and Prosperity. If you did not see the unsound doctrine in the message of these pastors of large churches in the Gospel of Prosperity as it is preached and practiced, then you can see it their distortions of God’s plan for marriage as it is now also true that well over 50% of church members are divorced. It was the same Christ born on Christmas who also taught marriage was still ordained by God to be like in the beginning where there is one man and one woman for life; and although this like all other sins except “an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” can receive forgiveness when there is confession and cleansing from unrighteousness from God the Father and through Christ, most of the church members and leaders continue to rebel against the plan of God from the beginning for marriage by either a denial and a rationalization so that confession and forgiveness by God in the face of such rebellion becomes impossible.
Another obvious sign of the times in such churches and among such church members is the taking of God’s name in vain. Oh yes, not only do you hear it more and more on TV to the extent that you think writers can no longer write without a blasphemy of the name of God, but you know and I know and the world knows that you are hearing it more and more among those church members in spite of the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount that “God will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain.”
In fact we are laying down such hard facts in the Bible, it should also be mentioned that such large churches who preach and practice the Gospel of Prosperity are cursed. Yes, a curse rest on them which is difficult to see as you are impressed with their large numbers and talent and prosperity, but the Apostle Paul called down a curse on any church or any church member that would preach or teach any other Gospel than that which he delivered; and do not be deceived Paul, nor Jesus, nor any other Apostle as recorded in the Bible ever preached a Gospel of Prosperity. There is just no way to be prosperous without seeking it; and the Jesus who taught to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” taught also that these others things would be added without seeking; and the whole statement of the Sermon on the Mount is that God provides only needs and on a daily basis not prosperity.
Now it is time to explain how that “it is nothing” those good impressions that were created in your mind by large churches and prosperous pastors of fame during this last Christmas season. When Jesus taught His closest Apostles in John 14 “without Me you can do nothing”, it implied that even the top leaders of the Christian faith, these 11 Apostles, even if they prophesied in the name of Christ or cast out devils or did a lot of marvelous works like those we saw of TV, would amount to nothing if they did it apart from abiding in Christ. You may have some disciples of Christ in those large churches, albeit disciples in the falling away are almost there, since there is always the 39% of church members who do not profess belief in the Gospel of Prosperity; but the number must be very small of those like in the Garden of John 14-16 with Jesus who have passed from mere discipleship to being a friend of Christ. Christ said at that time, bottom line, you are my friends if you love me and do what I command and abide in Me!
Now if you were to look around today for those who will after the Second Coming say to Jesus, “Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast demons out in your name, and do other marvelous works in your name”, where would you look now for such people. Yes, those of large churches who think that they are doing marvelous works for Christ! What happens with so many today who name the name of Christ without departing from iniquity, what happens today with so many who cater to the desires of church members for unsound doctrine, these itching ears Bible teachers and preachers, is that they first fake themselves out that they are doing the marvelous works of Christ, then they easily fake out their followers. Do you think that Ted Haggard was the only so-called “evangelical” leader to fall away from Christ, the Bible, and sound doctrine? Do you not think that such a leader who practiced such sins habitually for years was able to grow church members that were right. That is contrary to what Jesus also taught in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus said you will know the sound Bible teachers from the false prophets by the fruit which they bear. Good preachers yield good fruit and unsound and itching ears Bible teachers yield bad fruits. You see, what we have done in the nature of worldliness is to look at the number of the fruit in churches rather than the quality of the fruit. It does not matter how much or how many fruit a church tree can grow, it is how good the fruit is. The beautiful and massive choir in an exceedingly large auditorium at Prestonwood, it is nothing it they practice the Gospel of Prosperity and the bad signs of the Falling Away, it is nothing. The impressive robes and affluence of the Second Baptist Church in Houston with evidences of talent acknowledged by the world is nothing if they have been cursed by Gospel substitution. The peace and love and purpose of Saddleback and their leaders is nothing if they have a substituted the sound doctrines of Christ and the Bible for an “up with people” music and message. Ah, Lakewood, it is nothing because all you hear from them is the power of positive thinking, the glorification of things, and a message that you must not have faith if you are not prosperous. That means nothing to God and Christ! That is nothing of eternal value. You will always find with instant popularity and fame on the part of a church and a church leader that they have sold out to Satan at the same points where Satan tempted Jesus in order to have the fame and fortune of the world. Oh yes, Satan as the prince of this world does control the world to the extent that he could deliver fame and fortune to Jesus at that time and he can do the same for any church member of leader today, and does. In the nature of testing the spirit of I John and testing the doctrine of the message and the practice for itching ears and abiding in Christ, check at the same 3 points where Jesus was tempted. Jesus did not, of course, yield and sell out to the world and Satan; but inevitable during the Falling Away more and more church members and leaders will be savage wolfs that will not spare the flock and deceivers who will make disciples more after themselves than after Christ and the Bible. Check for these three points: (1) They will subvert their spiritual capabilities for material gain; (2) they will tempt God by placing themselves in the “praise the Lord” position of stepping into every mud puddle they see in order to prove their faith; and (3) they will secretly and subtly shift their allegiance to Satan and the world in order to show success and gain.
This is the problem with the fame and fortune that Rick Warren has achieved on the best seller list and throughout the world, where leaders and churches want to grow large like he did, you are not able to look careful at how good the fruit in his church is, you are only able to look at the size of the tree. Indeed, you can find many indications when you sample the fruit of the church tree of the large churches, where the fruit is not only bad but it is rotten.
If you see the logic of this from the Bible and from what is happening in America today, and want to know more about it from the Bible; and I assure you that you will not hear about it from any where else as the popular Bible teachers and preachers will not tell you something this unpopular, then please read about WHAT THE CHURCHES DON’T WANT YOU TO HEAR! on the website www.biblecombibleman.com.