consuming fireOur God is a Consuming Fire!

12 January 2017

(this document can be downloaded as a PDF at the bottom of this page)

We were all sitting in our lounge on the evening of 7 June 2016, when our eldest daughter saw on Facebook that the well known Durban Christian Centre Church – the iconic ‘Jesus Dome’ building, was on fire.  It wasn’t long before messages and video’s started streaming in to us from friends and family associated with this part of the Body of Christ.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IjOndatmT0

As I watched a short (amateur footage above) video clip of the Church building burning down, I felt distraught, hot, burning up – physically sick.  A sense of judgment, grieving and desolation filled my heart, alongside the Scripture: “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God…” 2 Peter 3:7.  I didn’t expect or immediately understand that specific Scripture – fear of the LORD came over me.  I was suddenly reminded of a seemingly strange thing in such a situation.  I remembered attending a production of the narrative of the crucifixion at the DCC a few years ago (a “Passion Production” so to speak), which was used as a powerful Evangelising tool by the Church.  It came to memory how one of the senior Pastors announced and warned people from the pulpit not to come too close to the stage during the production, since they were making use of stage pyrotechnics that evening and that fire might injure someone should they come too close to the stage.

In the following days after the fire, I was deeply affected by it and felt like Mordecai as described in the book of Esther: “…tearing his clothes, putting on sackcloth and ashes, and walking out into the city “wailing loudly and bitterly”, yet I noted how many believers seemed relatively untouched by what happened to a part of the Body of Christ. Some people from other religions even laughed but I knew that God saw. The Scripture that came to heart was “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it…” 1 Corinthians 12:26.  This word is based on that premise:  that “if one member suffers, all suffer with it”.  We should all be asking ourselves some questions as the broader part of the Body of Christ.  I have had this message inside my heart since then but felt persuaded to wait – to give sufficient time for those who had suffered great loss – to seek and hear the LORD for themselves, to digest and to come to terms with it.  I also wanted to wait until the official investigation into the cause of the fire had been finalised, which has since then been finalised.  This event is now seven months ago but we, as God’s people, if we look at biblical examples, are quick to forget and at times hard of hearing.

I became a born again believer in a Charismatic Church as a young girl but even though my heart is very much for all believers, I want to emphasise that this message is not about denominations and not only for DCC.  I personally do not classify myself as a ‘Charismatic’ but as a child of the Most High God. I have had family studying at the Bible College at DCC, we have known and still know mighty men and women of God at DCC and have even received ministry from this part of the Body.  I can honestly say that I love them deeply! Having observed the ministry of Pastor Fred and Nellie Roberts (the founders of DCC) for years, I recognise them who have laboured amongst us, since the inception of DCC.  As the Scriptures teach, I esteem them (and also those who have journeyed with them) very highly in love for their work’s sake (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13). I don’t know all the finer details of what the LORD has already revealed through His leaders to them personally but have to be obedient with this word (Jeremiah 20:9). This message is about us all as part of the whole Body that belongs to Christ Jesus, our Messiah.

In the official investigation into the cause of the fire, it was found that there was an electrical fault (short) that caused the fire at DCC.  This conclusive report was done by the system of this world in adhering to the laws of our Country.  You can call this message a spiritual investigation into the cause of the fire – our God is a consuming fire! (Hebrews 12:29).  For us, as children of the Most High God, we know that everything that manifests physically, started first spiritually.  Beloved, this was no small thing that happened, we need to hear what the Spirit is saying to us ALL about this. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Matthew 11:15.  If one part of the Body is in dysfunction, it causes pain and we are all affected by it. If you break your arm for instance, your whole body is affected by that arm that can suddenly not fulfil its God-ordained function.  As you go to a physician to be examined when your body is in a place of dysfunction, let’s ask the Great Physician to examine us spiritually.  It would be a great, eternal loss to us if we miss the message in it.

As God’s servant, I would encourage you to do two things:

  • Read and receive this message in the context of the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).
  • Be a “Berean” and study the Scriptures for yourself (Acts 17:11).

“’Is not My word like a fire?” says the Lord, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?’ Jeremiah 23:29

Electricity in a prophetic sense usually point to power.  Power as flowing from the Holy Spirit as the only source of that power – to deliver, to heal to prophesy.2  Sometimes we have used the word ‘channel’ for the Holy Spirit, however this word is so widely used in the New Age and other religions, that I tend to try and steer away from it.  In the natural, when a short circuit occurs, electrical current encounters little to no resistance because its path has been diverted from its normal direction of flow.  If there was to be an electrical short circuit spiritually, prophetically – what then would this indicate?  What would be the very thing that would be blocking and diverting the flow of the Holy Spirit to prevent and manifest the heart of Jesus Christ for His Body?

In this case, the electrical fault (in the natural) caused a fire.  If you are truly a child of the Most High God, then you will have a deep understanding of the refiner’s fire.  It is written: “For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt.” Mark 9:49. This fire is a part the process in our walk to be transformed more and more into the image of Christ.  It is also written: He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Malachi 3:3. Fire has a sure way of burning flesh and burning away unrighteousness. Since we know that the answers to all our questions are in the Word of God – what does the Word of God say about fire? We see fire most often associated with judgement but let’s have a closer look and see and ask ourselves some eternally consequential questions.

Could it be a season of dividing the chaff from the wheat?

“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.  If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.  If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:11-15

As a Church have we come into the season where it will be highlighted how the valuable will be separated from the worthless?  The righteous from that which is wicked? The profane from the holy?  Will abominations be removed from the temple?

The word “fire” in this Scripture above in the Strong’s means ‘literally or figuratively’ fire.  A fire certainly tests the materials that have been used in a building.  In the natural wood, hay and straw will burn quickly and all that will be left will be worthless and for the ash-heap.  In a spiritual building made of living stones, fire will likewise also test to see what materials have been used.  Has it produced true disciples that are able to withstand the fiery trial? Does it reveal disciples that are tossed about by every doctrine, movement and wave or does it reveal disciples that have faith that triumphs in trouble? Has the testing revealed disciples that have perseverance, character and hope?  As His leaders, can God trust us with the spiritual lives of others?  Fire will certainly answer that question by burning off the flesh in that which has become compromised or corrupted.

I remember years ago I helped build a house for Habitat for Humanity as a volunteer.  At the time, I had no building skills but my motivation was love towards a family (in this case, a widowed, single mom), who had never owned her own home.  The solid foundation had already been put in place.  As I was assisting by laying down bricks, I looked at everyone around me also volunteering and hoped that we were laying the bricks down well.  I also noticed those who laid down their time to be there and were looking very busy but they were merely spectators, watching everyone else work.  I considered the sloppy work that might get done, especially as the day progressed and bodies became tired.  I knew full well that defects could lead to all sorts of problems for the new home owner.  This personal analogy taught me that it is possible for us to build a bad building on a good foundation!

We know (1 Corinthians 3) that the foundation for the Church should be Jesus Christ.  We also know that the Scriptures teach that the One who is truly building His Church, is Christ Himself: “I will build My Church” (Matthew 16).  It is He who is the Chief Cornerstone.  Yet, Christ co-builds His church through His disciples as they are led and empowered by His Spirit.  As one servant of God so aptly said: “Pray that God’s will be done, that He would build His Church, then stand on your feet, roll up your sleeves and by the power of the Holy Spirit, go and make disciples”.

He is the Head, we are the Body.  In the natural body, it is the head (brain) that gives instruction for the human body to function.  Then through processes in the body, these instructions and processes are fulfilled.  Our Head (Jesus Christ), instructs us through His Word to make disciples (not only converts) and then by the power of His Spirit, these instructions are fulfilled.  The focus is not on us building (our own good works or efforts) but on doing what the Head instructs us to do through his Word in the power of His Spirit and as we do, we are co-building for Him, in Him, through Him (love and obedience).  In our own human efforts, we will not succeed to build anything of worth.  When we start take ownership of “Church”, we have for ourselves that which is manmade. When I helped build the house for Habitat for Humanity as a volunteer many years ago, I never took ownership of the house itself, I took ownership for my function in helping to build it, in obedience to the commitment I had made.  Beloved, are we each individually taking ownership of our function and role in the Body?

The Word refers to the Church being made up of living stones (1 Peter 2:5) – people.  People who are indwelt by Christ.  It has never meant a building.  As the Scriptures teach, it is us who are His temples. When people come knocking on our ‘door’ for help, they are at a living, breathing stone and at a part of ‘Church’!  Which brings us to the question: Is the Church being built when people are converted and numbers increase or when the measure of Christ inside them increase?  I ask because I believe over time we have been groomed to think that numbers equal growth.  Have we not been groomed to believe that a big Church equals success in the eyes of God?  In the early Church in Acts the Word of God says that it was Christ Himself who added people daily. When our focus becomes numbers and not growth, it can become us who are adding and not Him.  This means that it can happen that we have ‘bums on seats’ but they are just keeping the seats warm, whereas the Word teaches us to “Go!” (Mark 16:15).

Beloved, if God takes us from ‘glory to glory’ (2 Corinthians 3:18), it means we are being transformed into having His Divine nature. A true living stone as part of a spiritual Body, a part of an ‘invisible building’ – manifested in a life transformed and wrecked for the heart of God.  If you want to test this, when people ask you what Church you are in, if you say you are in a big church, a rich church with an elaborate building, they will usually nod in approval.  If you tell them you are in a very small, unknown church or a house church, you will usually be asked: ”How many members are there?”, which frequently leads to a frown of concern.   Is this not the truth? Many believers assume a big building means the Church is sound, when at times this is not the case.  Are there big churches that are in right standing with the Chief Cornerstone, Christ? Yes! Are there big churches who are not in right standing with the Chief Cornerstone, Christ? Yes!

We must remember that our Messiah had a great following that at times ran into thousands, yet when it came to the Cross, the thousands disappeared.  Most of them loved the show of the miracles but when they realised the cost of truly following Him, they were not prepared to pay it.  When we preach messages people want to hear, we may draw the crowds and many may come to the altar calls but how many of those people are truly becoming disciples who will take up their cross and follow Him and go into all the world and preach the Gospel? How many become true living, breathing, living stones for Christ that understand salvation and how many remain spectators?

The Church is not a building.  Jesus Christ is not building a ‘Church building’, He is building a people – a remnant! The first Church started with only 12 people who were indwelt with Christ to such a great measure that they literally changed the world upside down with the Gospel.  When our focus is on making converts and not disciples, the Church may seem like its growing rapidly but is Christ building His Church through us or are we building systems for Him in direct opposition to His heart for His Body?  We need to be reminded yet once again:

“Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is My throne,
And earth is My footstool.
Where is the house that you will build Me?
And where is the place of My rest?
 For all those things My hand has made,
And all those things exist,”
Says the Lord.
“But on this one will I look:
On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit,
And who trembles at My word.” 
Isaiah 66:1-2

Church buildings can help us to get God’s work done but it is not a prerequisite.  If we look at the persecuted Church in many areas in the world, meetings happen underground or even under trees! A manmade building cannot contain resurrection life – it cannot contain the Spirit of God.  Yet, what we have done is that as God’s people we have created our own system.  We have for ourselves elaborate buildings, expensive equipment and entertaining programs – all of which needs money to be maintained. To maintain all these things, we need more members to pay for it.  We need well known guest speakers that come in and draw the crowds to bring in more money to pay the bills. How many of these programs are truthfully led by the Holy Spirit and not by the ideas of man or another spirit? It would be foolish for us to not ask ourselves that question.

In such a system of man-made things and structures, leaders are not always chosen God’s way but through man-made education, degrees and requirements imposed that was never imposed by God.  Is it good to study? Yes, according to 2 Timothy 2:15, absolutely, but if you go study that Scripture, it is ultimately not to impress man. God’s way of appointing leaders is by anointing because that anointing is actually Him in them.  He needs to be able to trust us with the spiritual lives of others.  This alone should make us shake in our boots!  It is God Himself who calls people to lead, it is He who appoints leaders (Romans 13:1).  God’s leadership looks very much like servant-hood! His measure-stick is not that of man who looks to outward appearances. He doesn’t determine our worthiness to lead in ministry through man-made processes, nepotisms, agenda’s, prejudices, politics and systems.  We have to ask ourselves the question are we co-building His people for Him or are we building Church to build our own empire? Beloved, watch and see: God is going to be removing some leaders that have not been placed there Him but by a man-made system.

When we are the ones who take it upon ourselves to ‘divide the wheat from the chaff’, we usually classify the wheat as chaff and the chaff as wheat. We keep those with popularity, with power and money and we give them the stage and we reject the poor and humble.  Yet, Jesus Christ looks to inward appearance – the heart of man.  He often chooses that which seems foolish, that which seems shameful and that which seems outcast and disqualified in the eyes of man.  The power of prestige belongs to Christ alone.  When our hunger for prestige and power and to be in with the ‘who’s who’ in Church circles become our focus, we need to repent.

As Gene Edwards once prayed:

“Many pray for the power of God. More every year. Those prayers sound powerful, sincere, godly, and without ulterior motive. Hidden under such prayer and fervor, however, are ambition, a craving for fame, the desire to be considered a spiritual giant. The person who prays such a prayer may not even know it, but dark motives and desires are in his heart…in your heart.”

In such a system as above, the Church can be built separate from Christ’s heart for His Body. Is He even there?  What then will we do if the Body of Christ gets persecuted? Persecution against Christians is rapidly on the increase across the world as we look forward to the return of Christ.  We would have to be spiritually blind not to see that the world as we have known it is becoming a dangerous place for believers. We should be reminded that according to the Scriptures, the time foregoing His return will be a time of hardship for believers in Christ. As it is written about the last days:

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.  And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.  Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.  And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.  But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 24:9-13.

Beloved, are we as a Church ready to die for our faith?  Could God be preparing us for a time where many of us may no longer have that which we thought of as traditional and conventional ‘Church’?  What will be left of us if all that we have known as ‘Church’ had to burn to the ground?  Will it be refined gold or will it be worthless ashes?

Beloved, there will come that Day when our true intent and motive for our works will become fully revealed.  All the propagation of the various doctrines, the ulterior motives, the selfish ambitions, secret inner-greed for power, prestige and false worship will be exposed.  Those things that cannot withstand fire and could strip us of our reward. As it says in the Scripture ‘he will suffer loss’ – our expectation of reward will be unfulfilled with eternal consequences (1 Corinthians 3).  We will not receive the full award or even obtain a reward. There is a term called ‘jerry-building’ – ‘To build shoddily, flimsily and cheaply’.  Are we perhaps jerry-builders, beloved?  How many of us have Christ Jesus as the foundation with His principles at the core but as one commentator says:

“They are on the foundation, but their lives are interlaced with the most heterogeneous mixty-maxty of good and evil, of lofty, high, self-sacrificing thoughts and heavenward aspirations, of resolutions never carried out into practice; and side by side with these there shall be meannesses, selfishnesses, tempers, dispositions all contradictory of the former impulses. One moment they are all fire and love, the next moment ice and selfishness. One day they are all for God, the next day all for the world, the flesh, and the devil.”1

Electrical short-circuiting in a part of the Body – Mammon

 To go back to ‘electrical short-circuiting’ that has happened in the Body of Christ, remember that in the natural during a short circuit, the path of the electrical current gets diverted from its normal flow. In the Body, has the Spirit of God not been hindered to flow freely as He naturally would, when God’s people should be resisting that which is not of Him – Mammon? Surely the hardest blow to the Body has been that we have bought into and believed the prosperity ‘gospel’ to such an extent that masses of believers across the world bow the knee to this.  Our Father watches and listens as we literally worship Mammon and not Him – in His own house.

I am not against prosperity but as a believer, I am against the prosperity ‘gospel’.  I am so grieved to hear the incessant talk of money, money, money in God’s house. Scripture teaches us that: “For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” (2 Corinthians 11:4).  Yet the Word makes it clear that: But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.  As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9).

Instead of worshipping only the true and One, Almighty God, the Body of Christ is guilty of making golden calves for God’s people to worship.  This golden calve story is actually a repeat of history.  Let me explain:
There once lived a king, named Jeroboam. You can read about him in 1 Kings. King Jeroboam was one of those people who started off well but did not end well.  Without going into all the reasons in-depth besides that his heart became sin-sick, Jeroboam took it upon himself to make two golden calves for God’s people to worship. He then set one up in Bethel and also one in a place called Dan.  The people of God were drawn away in their hearts from God and they started worshipping the golden calves in these two places.

It was idolatry to the core – that which was intended to be a place of worship on the altar where sacrifices were offered and incense was burned unto the LORD – became the altars of demons – ‘golden calves’ in this instance.  The LORD then sent a prophet to Bethel with a word. The same day the prophet confronted Jeroboam and after crying out to the altar, he gave him a word that the LORD had spoken:
“Surely the altar shall split apart, and the ashes on it shall be poured out”.
This is exactly like the Body of Christ where kings (this is what we are called in Revelation 1:6 – kings and priests) have made golden calves for God’s people.

Jeroboam means ‘‘increase of the people’.  This king was supposed to lead to the increase of the people but instead he turned God’s people away from Him. Many in the Body are leading God’s people into worshipping Mammon.  Bethel – means ‘this is God’s house’ – we must never forget that. We belong to Him – our worship, our devotion should be only to Him.  When we as a leadership are setting up false altars and lead people away with promises of a golden life full of endless supplies of money, we must remember Dan – which means ‘God is my Judge’.  In the story of Jeroboam, the altar was brought to ashes – ashes speak of utter desolation and destruction.  This is a warning for us all in the Body of Christ.

I was listening to a Christian Television program recently and I caught it towards the end.  I knew time was coming closer for them to ask for money.  How did I know? The atmosphere changed – the lights were dimmed, the music queued, the emotional hype created.  Is that the truth?  As I watched the preacher on stage announcing that it was time for people to give, He quoted Scripture to back up his request and one thing he reminded the congregation of was a part of John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world that He GAVE…”.

That’s it.  That’s all he said. I felt grieved in my heart.  Probably the most well known Scripture in the Word of God amongst both believers and unbelievers was being used to manipulate people to give money.  Some call this type of coercing ‘charismatic witchcraft’ – manipulation of the will of others for self-gain.

Yet, the instance someone is outspoken against the prosperity gospel, they are labelled as ‘being judgmental’, having a ‘religious spirit’ or a ‘poverty spirit’. I believe it has been one of the most destructive ‘doctrines of demons’ that has entered the Body of Christ and has corrupted masses of believers to knowingly or unknowingly bow to Mammon, in the name of the LORD! As one servant of God so aptly stated: “Judgment begins with the people who know better than what they do and allow.”

During a missionary trip to India, a Pastor based there was asked what the biggest problem was that the Church was facing in India.  His answer was not shortage of Bibles or even persecution.  His answer was the prosperity ‘gospel’.  The poor is getting poorer and the teachers of the prosperity ‘gospel’ getting richer and living it up, unconcerned with the suffering of the poor.  In doing so, they preach a false gospel and a false Jesus.  Beloved, we are in the last days! We often associate the words in the Scriptures “the last days shall be like Sodom and Gomorrah” (Luke 17) with only homosexuality but we tend to forget also that the sin of Sodom was that “She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me.” (Ezekiel 16:49).  So often we as God’s people look to the world and see these signs of the last days but we need to first and foremost have a spiritual heart check to see that these signs are also in the Body of Christ. That we as a Church have become materialistic and compromised in this area and that if ‘judgment must begin at the house of God’ (2 Peter 3:7), then when that judgment comes, will we be prepared?

“Woe to you who put far off the day of doom,
Who cause the seat of violence to come near;
Who lie on beds of ivory,
Stretch out on your couches,
Eat lambs from the flock
And calves from the midst of the stall;
 Who sing idly to the sound of stringed instruments,
And invent for yourselves musical instruments like David;
Who drink wine from bowls,
And anoint yourselves with the best ointments,
But are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.
Therefore they shall now go captive as the first of the captives,
And those who recline at banquets shall be removed.” 
Amos 6:3-7

When I was led to the above Scripture, I had visions of what has become known as ‘Christian Television’.  It is a visual representation of what is going on now:”who lie on beds of ivory, stretch out on your couches, eat lambs from the flock…”  Words like: “If you will come back and make that [financial] pledge, God will heal your heart tonight” must surely grieve our Father in Heaven.  Beloved, since when does God charge us to heal our hearts?   And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” 2 Peter 2:3.

One very famous preacher asked people to pay a seed of R1000 at a mass healing crusade and staff were ready with credit card machines for people to pay the R1000. Beloved, does not the Scriptures teach us to not “owe no man anything” (Romans 13)? Why would our LORD contradict Himself by asking people to pay for a ‘seed’ on their credit card?  Why are we allowing such people in our Church as guest speakers, in the name of the LORD? Yet, we see it and these are just some of the ones I have heard: ‘the territorial anointing seed’, ‘$1000 triple favour seed’, ‘No weapon Isaiah 54:17 seed’, ‘the battle seed’, ‘healing for a loved one seed’, ‘call to make your vow now’ and what we are teaching is “How to get rich with Jesus”. Do you remember that in a spiritual sense an electrical short circuit blocks and diverts the flow of the Holy Spirit from its normal direction of flow – to deliver, to heal to prophesy?  Beloved, how serious is it to promise people that God will heal them, set them free, bless them if they pay you for it?  By doing this, do we not negate the Cross of Christ and bring it down to one thing – money?  In doing so, do we not shut out the poor and cater for the rich and we cry not for the affliction of those who suffer?   “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8.

In Revelation we see how the lukewarm Church is being addressed by the Messiah:

“Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—  I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” Revelation 3:17-19

Beloved, sometimes this is what we look like outside:

Image: http://www.durbanchristiancentre.com/jesus-dome-gallery/

Image: http://www.durbanchristiancentre.com/jesus-dome-gallery/

But this is what we look like inside:

After fire DCC

Image http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/my-home-burnt-down-congregant-of-jesus-dome-church-20160607

Jesus Christ came to give us an abundant life (John 10:10), but the prosperity gospel has attempted to make that Scripture almost only about money.  In some parts of the Body, we have made money the thing of devotion through the prosperity ‘gospel’.  Are we using the Cross to make money?

“Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business.  When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables.  And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”  Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.” John 2:13-17. Beloved, we need to be zealous and repent.

Money in itself is not intrinsically evil. Of course we should give with a cheerful heart for the cause of Christ – undoubtedly! Will our God look after His children? Yes! Will He bless us? Yes, He is good! Yet, in all this it is Christ who is our greatest blessing and if we have gained Him, we have gained everything. It is the Apostle Paul himself who said: “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” Philippians 4:12.

Does poverty glorify God? No. Can God be glorified amidst seasons of poverty? Undoubtedly yes!  The message of the Cross is a message of victory, yes, but also suffering, of perseverance, of dying to self – like a wedding vow – for richer or poorer – it is not a ‘come-to-Jesus-to-get-rich’ message as preached within the prosperity gospel, which is a false gospel.  Beloved, as we lust after more prosperity, will we dare to merchandise and spiritually prostitute the Cross and reduce it to something that can be sold?

If we only focus on giving-to-get, we will miss the warnings in the Word concerning riches and wealth.  Our Messiah, who knew wealth to be a gift of God to be used in His service (Matthew 25:14-30; 25:31-46) and that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), had a lot to say about wealth and riches:

  1. Wealth can be dangerous – Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:23-25
  1. A devotion to gathering wealth is unable to coexist with devotion to God. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24 (also Luke 16:13)
  1. Life does not consist in the abundance of the things we possess. (Luke 12:13-21)
  1. Wealth is not always a sign of God’s favour. Go and read the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus – who was a beggar (Luke 16:19-31)
  1. We are told by our Master not to lay up treasures for ourselves on earth. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal…” (Matthew 6:19)
  1. Being a child of God is not always a guarantee of wealth. God is the Maker of the poor and He is the Maker of the rich. (Luke 6:20, Luke 16:19-22, Mark 12:41-44, Proverbs 22:2, Matthew 27:57, Job 1:1-3)
  1. Using the Word for self-gain – riches can literally choke the word. “…and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:19, Luke 8:14).
  1. What is highly esteemed by man (money) is an abomination to God. (Luke 16:14-15)
  1. Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Matthew 19:21)
  1. Wealth can lead to temptations, snares and lusts. Many in ministry are being led away from the truth because of greed. “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:9-10

Beloved, as the Body of Christ we have to ask ourselves if the fire has changed us.  Has some dross been removed from us so Christ can fill us to a greater measure?

Cross

A few days after the fire at DCC, an unsaved close friend of mine commented this:

“You know, after the Jesus Dome has burnt down, the Cross in front of the Church sure seems prominent now”.   There is a message in that for us all.

(Image : Khatija Nxedlana (http://www.ecr.co.za/news/news/cause-jesus-dome-fire-being-investigated/)

To the DCC – some words of admonition

  • There was a time where the Jesus Dome was a landmark for directions in and around Durban. Now it’s the Cross. Even with a new building, may the Cross remain as the only landmark for directions in the Spirit.
  • Repentance is an act of worship.
  • Go back and look at your earlier days – when there was only the foundation of Christ. Review your earlier teachings (Isaiah 28).
  • May you once again have a renewed, burning passion (John 2:17 and Psalm 69:9).
  • Prophetically I have heard it declared that God will bring about full restoration in 42 months. The fire happened on the 7th day of the 6th month (2016).
    • 42 = the sum of 6 (the spirit of man, unto sin) x 7 (perfection) – this is indicative of the ‘perfection’ of man.
    • 42 = also the number of generations of David to Christ in the Gospel according to Luke (Luke 3:23-38). Reject that which takes away from the Cross.
  • Be careful who you allow into the Church as guest speakers, no matter how well known they are in Church circles – there are wolves creeping in who will try to devour and deceive the flock. Give the poor and humble a place to speak.
  • Right now you may be in a tent but you are still “tabernacling” with God – see it as a precious time – for this season.
  • God loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). Not one life was taken during the fire – in His mercy, He spared all. You have been through the fire and because of that, if you stay within the will of the Father, you will pull others out of the fire – both saved and unsaved.
  • My prayer for you: “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure,  which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer…” 2 Thessalonians 1:3-5

“I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18 – our Messiah’s words

 

REFERENCES
1. MacLaren’s Expositions of Holy Scriptures

2. 2012 – Hearing God: Dream Dictionary – Martin Van der Merwe; ISBN 978-0-620-51413-2

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