“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7: 15.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4: 3-4.
I have been a Christian for over 36 years. I was saved in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, UK, in a free evangelical church. I went from there to Leek in Staffordshire, to an old Baptist Union church. I believe that in those formative years as a Christian I received the finest teaching from the word of God that a young Christian could ever receive. I was grounded in the word of God for my first seven years as a Christian. But there was a problem. I did not know about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I became very legalistic and sadly I was a hypocrite. I was, as CS Lewis once said, a Sunday angel but a Monday devil. I faced many conflicts in those years as I wanted to serve the Lord with all my heart but I could not. My pastor, who was a very godly man, when he baptised me gave me these verses:
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12: 1-3.
What a wise man. He saw this tramp that came off the street. He brought me to the foot of the cross by using a wonderful little book, John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. He and many others grounded me in the word of God, which has kept me through many years. But sadly as Jesus said, even the elect can be led astray (Mark 13:22). I was led astray. Though my own pride and my besetting sins I lost my first marriage by allowing a man I met to introduce me to the doctrine of demons. During that period of time I was filled with the Holy Ghost through pentecostal Christians who knew the word of God and the power of God. But he devil himself is very subtle and as the word says comes to us an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11: 14). This resulted in my being in the wilderness for approximately seven years. I still loved God, I still loved my Lord Jesus, but my life was a mess. I went to Bible college. I graduated. I pioneered a few churches. But I was led astray by false doctrine. I listened to such teachers as Kenneth Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Morris Cerullo, Joyce Meyer and Creflo Dollar. In short, I became a prosperity preacher. I was part of a large ministry in the West Midlands, but unfortunately, my brothers and sisters, I was chasing after wealth, power, position and adoration from my fellow brothers and sisters. But our Father is so gracious; I did not get what I deserved. It was a time of tremendous growth and in spite of my disobedience and at times complete rebellion God blessed me mightily. I believed at the time that what I was doing was pleasing to God, but sadly it was not.
So I urge you my brothers and sisters to check the word of God, read it for yourself and make up your mind about these megachurches and prosperity preachers, as I have learned that there is only one true gospel and it does not say you or I should be rich or powerful; it does not promise us a new house, cars or lands; it tells us to go and to make disciples of all nations.
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 18-20.
The message is to go, preach, teach and make disciples. This is the purpose of the church of Jesus Christ. No matter what denomination or grouping you belong to, go, preach, teach and make disciples of all people.
I believe with what is happening around the world and the fulfilment of much prophetic scripture that the Lord is very close. Most churches today sadly have become entertainment centres and people seem to be spending more time looking after the needs of those inside the church than what Jesus commanded them to do, to go and reach the lost. It is almost as if the leaders in the church have forgotten that the reason we exist is to reach as many as we can and bring them to the foot of the cross. When was the last time you saw anybody saved, healed or filled with the Spirit or your pastor teach on the second coming of Christ, which many of us believe is imminent? The upshot of this is you will not be judged on how many times you went to a church meeting, Bible study, conference or Christian concert; you will be judged on your fruit. So what fruit will you take with you when the trumpet is sounded and Jesus calls us?
Rev Ross Rennie
We are living in perilous times. We see the conflagrations around the world. I believe we are living so close to the end that the body of Christ needs to wake up and, as it says in Ezekiel, stop playing in the shallows. As a minister of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ for over 36 years I am beginning to get a witness in my spirit that it is time for the church of Jesus Christ to stand up and start being counted. I believe the church worldwide has settled for a candy-coated gospel. We have used clever programmes, clever schemes and at times worldly methods to reach the lost. My brothers and sisters, these things do not work. They will never work. They result in social clubs. Jesus told us to watch and pray. I believe when the body of Christ stops entertaining the troops we shall see a revival and a restoration like never before. I have read about the Hebridean revival, the 1905 revival and Azusa Street, but I believe there is a revolution about to start that will make these look like Sunday school parties.
Jesus told us through Matthew 24:
“And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.”
Matthew 24: 6-9
I believe these are the words of Jesus Christ. Am I correct? He also says later in Matthew 24 for us to look at the fig tree:
“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!”
Matthew 24: 32-33
I also believe God is going to shake the nations. We can see through the Old Testament when the children of Israel were stiff-necked and rebellious against God He allowed them to be taken into captivity: Egypt, Babylon and Rome.
So, my brothers, sisters and fellow-ministers, if we do not get out from behind our walls and get into the battle, as we are in a war, we battle not against flesh and blood but against powers, principalities and rulers of wickedness in high places, we shall lose more and more ground to the enemy. As great men and women from the past know, we need to get on our knees, humble ourselves before God and fight the battle in prayer, and then when this is done, go and take the land. As Pastor Bonnke from Christ for All Nations always said, we should plunder hell and populate heaven.
I do not care what denomination you are from, you who are reading this, it is the same for us all.
Most churches I go into seem more like hospitals than army camps, or sadly they are so worldly they become entertainment centres, which saddens my heart. I have visited churches over the past five years. I have been in church meetings and there has been no welcome to me as a stranger. I have left these meetings wondering why I ever came. Many churches in the United Kingdom lack communitas. If you check on the word communitas, you will see it is the kind of community that Christians experience when they are on mission together (see this video). The problem is, you need to be on mission to experience this. It does not mean you have to go to Africa, India or far across the world. There has to be a mission heart in your local church or fellowship. We were never told in the scriptures to stay. We were always told to go (Matthew 28). What we seem to do in the west is have a party and invite people to the party. My observation of the New Testament is they went out. They did not employ professionals to do it. They all did it. I know some of the clergy will not agree with this but my understanding of that is they like to keep their jobs and sadly sometimes power.
So I would like you to reflect on this wherever you are in the world.
Titus 1: 10-16
For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.
To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.
Rev Ross Rennie
Is it over for missionaries? This is the question asked on the Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 today, 20 February 2014.
Is there still a role for the missionary who preaches the gospel? Or have missionaries been replaced by development workers?
Grace Missions director, Rev Ross Rennie, phoned in to the show and gave his view.
You can listen to the programme online until 27 February 2014. The segment on missionaries begins at 1:08:56 and Rev Ross’s contribution is at 1:32:21.
I wonder why…
I wonder why some missionaries are still trying to replicate their home culture in the countries they are working in. I thought we had learned that cultural imperialism was not the way to extend the kingdom of God. Why do some denominations still land in a new country with the aim of building a copy of their home organisation instead of planting culturally appropriate churches? I have always preferred to listen to and work with indigenous churches in Cambodia and Myanmar rather than set up my own empire. How would Jesus do mission?
I wonder why Christians are so keen on criticising and judging others while seeking to justify or ignore their own failings. How would Jesus relate to the ‘tax gatherers and sinners’ of today? How would He deal with Christians who have made mistakes or fallen into sin?
I wonder why church politics are such a hindrance to the work of the kingdom. Why is there so much jostling for power and position in the church? Why is the ‘I did it my way’ attitude so prevalent? How would Jesus run your church?
I wonder why church meetings can so easily degenerate into a performance. Where are the servant worship leaders and musicians whose only desire is to lead us into the presence of God? How would Jesus help us to worship His Father?
Philippians 2: 7 (NKJV) tells us that Jesus ‘made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant’. He left the glory of heaven; as a newborn baby He was placed in an animal’s feeding trough; as an adult on the road He had ‘nowhere to lay His head’; He had to accept the hospitality and generosity of others; He ‘did not come to be served, but to serve’; He submitted to a mistrial, a brutal flogging and the curse of death on a cross.
Because Jesus lived and died in this way, all our sins, past, present and future, and all the sins of others whom we so easily condemn, have been forgiven.
Philippians 2: 5 (NKJV) instructs us, ‘Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus’, or (NLT) ‘Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had.
How would Jesus do mission? Humbly, with grace towards the people he came to serve and save.
How would Jesus relate to the ‘tax gatherers and sinners’ of today? The same way as He did to the tax gatherers and sinners whose company He enjoyed in first-century Galilee and Judaea: with love, forgiveness and acceptance.
How would Jesus run your church? As a servant-leader, a gracious, patient pastor and teacher, whose chief desire is for the spiritual health and maturity of His brothers and sisters.
How would Jesus help us to worship His Father? He would turn our eyes away from ourselves, the band, the singers, and help us to give our all in focused adoration.
Which is more important to you and to me: our reputation? Or the glory of God?