Matthew 24:3-5 ESV
As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.”
Now, I have not actually heard a man say, “I am the Christ,” in these literal words, but I have experienced and have seen and heard many pastors act as though they are the Christ, as though they are God. And a few years ago one of them told me that I needed to sit in the back of the church building and just let him be God’s voice to me. But then he also invited me to leave and to go someplace else where I would be a “better fit.” Many pastors are being trained to be like cult leaders and to demand undivided loyalties.
I have had pastors and elders try to be God’s voice to me and to tell me who I am even though they never even had a personal conversation with me ever. One of them told me that I had never been “crucified with Christ.” But he didn’t know me. We had never before had a conversation. He later acknowledged that he had judged me wrongfully, that he was judging me by himself. But so many pastors today truly are being trained to be like cult leaders and to demand undivided loyalties to them, and not to God.
And many of them are teaching their own words as though their words are truth that are to be followed. And many are teaching the Scriptures out of context and they are twisting them to say what the Scriptures overall do not teach. And they are convincing many people to believe their lies over the truth, and so they are indeed setting themselves up as gods who are to be believed over the Scriptures and who are not to be challenged. And I have been witnessing this for over 40 years now. They are everywhere!
For at least a while there they were posting their goals and mission and purpose statements on literal walls or on websites or church bulletins, and many were asking their congregations to put those words to memory. And I have even heard pastors tell their entire congregations that if they could not unify with the pastor in these goals and mission and purpose statements that they were disunifiers and that they should go “someplace else.” But that didn’t go over so well in some old established church congregations.
Yet, many of these charlatans have huge followings, and people are even quoting their words on social media as though they are from the Scriptures, especially if they pretend to be quoting from the Scriptures. And hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions of people are following these pied pipers to their deaths. And most who follow them do not question their words to see if they are actually truth. And if you question their words, some of their followers may disown you and/or unfriend you on social media.
So, these charlatans don’t have to literally say, “I am the Christ,” to actually be saying, “I am the Christ,” for they say it with their other words and with their attitudes and with the things that they teach and impress on people’s hearts and minds. And they say it when they take the position of Christ in the hearts and minds of the people and they get the people to give to them their undivided loyalties without question and without challenge. And believe me, many pastors are being taught to be like cult leaders.
Matthew 24:9-14 ESV
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
They don’t even have to put you to literal death to put you to death, either. Again, these pastors are being trained in who to get rid of, and it isn’t the adulterer, the murderer, the practitioner of incest, the liar, the sexually immoral, the unfaithful spouse, and the slanderer, etc. They coddle them in their sins. It is those who they regard as “disunifiers” because they are not united with the “church’s” marketing schemes and goals. And it is those who have “strong convictions” and those who are “needy people,” etc.
Now I am speaking from over 40 years of experience in ministry within these institutional churches and from going through their ministry training classes and from watching how they operate behind the scenes. And this is not localized. This is from living in 5 different states and 10 cities and ministering in many different church settings and church denominations. And it is from watching TV preachers of all kinds and from reading books and from reading people’s responses to my posts. So I am no novice here.
The modern market-driven churches are not designed to operate as the body of Christ, even though they call themselves “churches.” For they are human-based businesses which are following after people who are teaching them how to market their “churches” to the world. And so marketing books have become the Bible for many pastors and marketing schemes and goals have replaced the Holy Spirit and entertainment has replaced true biblical worship of God, and teachings of men have replaced the teachings of Christ.
So, if you are literally following the Scriptures in truth, and if your life is surrendered to Jesus Christ, and he is truly your Lord (Owner-Master), and if you are walking in holiness and in righteousness, in obedience to your Lord, and not according to the flesh, you are most likely not going to be accepted in these market-driven institutional churches, which is perfectly okay, because that is not where God wants you anyway. For he is calling his people to come out of Babylon so that we do not share in her sins.
But what this describes here in this passage of Scripture is happening in our day and time here in America within the walls of these institutional churches. I know that in some countries Christians are being murdered literally, and that is awful. But here, if you are sold out to Christ, you may find yourself being “murdered” in other ways such as being invited to leave, and being cast aside, and rejected, and falsely accused of what you did not do. And you may find yourself ostracized and alone because you don’t fit anywhere.
But you know what? The Lord used all those experiences in my life for my good to make me who I am today so that I would do what God has called me to do. And the Lord is having me share the gospel of his salvation on the internet, and he is taking that to people all across the globe in many different countries. So God be praised! What Satan meant for evil in my life God meant for good to bring me to the place to where I would be sold out to the Lord and willing to totally commit my life to his service, no matter what.
Matthew 24:15 ESV
“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand).”
An abomination is something that is an outrage, a disgrace, something God abhors, that is revolting to him. And desolation is misery, despair, sadness, and devastation (destruction, damage). And the “holy place” is God’s temple, and we are his temple if we believe in him.
And what is happening in much of today’s church, and to the gospel, and to the lives of many of those who profess faith in Jesus Christ is an abomination, and it does cause much destruction and damage to human lives. And the abomination is this cheap grace gospel which is taking its stand in the gatherings of the church, the body of Christ, and it is killing people, for it is promising them heaven while it is sending them to hell.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Worthy is the Lamb
By Darlene Zschech
Thank you for the cross Lord
Thank you for the price You paid
Bearing all my sin and shame
In love You came
And gave amazing grace
Worthy is the Lamb
Seated on the throne
Crown You now with many crowns
You reign victorious
High and lifted up
Jesus Son of God
The Darling of Heaven crucified
Worthy is the Lamb
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