Recently, in Jamaica quite a few things have been unfolding, that have caused people of all belief and different persuasions to really question our stance on religion and our stance on faith.
Highest among the thoughts is the concept of manipulation that so called church leaders have been practicing under the guise of theology and Christ- centered doctrine.
And let us not pretend that these ideas are novel, as the book of first John chapter 4 tells us that the spirit of the antichrist which we have heard is coming is already at work in our world.
For years, the church as an organization has been able to influence and impact the lives of those it grooms and there are many churches that have been faithful to the task of teaching the bible, speaking the undiluted truth of Jesus and have been able to lead people into accepting the saving grace of Jesus thereby winning the lost souls of men for the kingdom of God.
As I see it, this is exactly why the church of Jesus exists.
John the Evangelist, who is said to have written the book, says,
“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”
1 John 1: 3
The message they were preaching was a message they themselves experienced and had the desire for other men and women to experience. Moreover, it was not just an experience with earthly, carnal achievements and accolades but a fellowship, a oneness that was being experienced with the saviour of the world.
The mandate of the Church
The message of the Christian church is and shall always be that Christ came in the form of flesh, took upon himself the sins of the world, died as he was crucified and rose from the dead conquering death, hell and the grave.
What the church of Christ does is to point lost souls to the one who came and completed the redemptive work so that mankind may walk in communion with their saviour. The gospel is never judgemental and never takes a posture of condemnation. The gospel however is one of hope, reconciliation in Jesus and obedience to the God through daily surrender. In fact, there is freedom, new mercies and sufficient grace in Jesus.
How do men and women in Christian leadership then get the opportunity to exalt themselves as judge and lord over the acts and decisions of those they lead? Do not get me wrong, we have to pray for our leaders because they have an enormous responsible to lead and feed their flock.
But it is very obvious when a leader is surrendered to God, seeking the Lord on how to efficiently and effectively care for those God has entrusted in their care, in comparison to a leader who is money and power hungry and is seeking to elevate him/her self by taking advantage of the weakness of those he leads.
The importance of discernment
We cannot be ignorant – remember the word of God tell us that the people perish for lack of knowledge. Additionally, we cannot be passive – the kingdom of God suffers violence and it is the violent that will take it by force.
In Jamaica, there is a popular saying in our Christian circle that says – God calls fools but He does not keep them.
What we need are a discerning people, who do not take for granted the efforts of the enemy who the word of God explains seeks to kill, steal and destroy. Every good work that we seek to do for the kingdom of God , every soul we seek to save from the fiery hell, every individual we seek to disciple to become fishers of men, the enemy is also at work seeking to kill, steal and destroy the work of the kingdom.
We cannot turn a blind eye, but instead we must remain sober and vigilant because we know we have an enemy who is ever seeking after whom he may devour.
We must become watchmen – who will raise an alarm when we see the enemy trying to take a foot hold of the kingdom work God is using each of us to do?
A command to Test every spirit
In the book of 1 John chapter 4 verse 1, it says, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world”
It continues by telling us how we are to test spirits,
“This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.”
1 John 4: 2-3a
Yes, as Christians we show mercy because we have received mercy.
Yes, we forgive because God has instructed that if we cannot forgive our brothers He will not forgive us our sins.
Yes, the gospel is about reconciliation.
But never forget that daily the Kingdom of God is being attacked by the enemy of our souls.
Every day the enemy seeks to harden our minds and fill our hearts with unbelief to keep us from a complete conviction of following after Christ.
We cannot ignore the work of the anti-christ that is at work among us, because what we will have is a manipulated people, not seeking after God but following after ungodly charismatic men and women who are doing nothing but leading them down a road of condemnation; separating them from true relationship with their loving Heavenly Father.
…..Pay careful attention then to how you walk not as unwise but as wise, redeeming
the time because the days are evil, Ephesians chapter 5 vs16.
Dacia Miller from Jamaica, West Indies is a wife, mother and trained communicator who enjoys dancing. She is involved in youth ministry and loves to see lives transformed.