Sickness in the Body of Christ
Sickness in the Body of Christ
Sickness in the Body of Christ by Azina Jackson Cover Design by Atinad Designs. ÂŠ Copyright 2013 SAINT PAUL PRESS, DALLAS, TEXAS First Printing, 2013 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner, except for brief quotations included in a review of the book. ________________________________________________________________________ The name SAINT PAUL PRESS and its logo are registered as a trademark in the U.S. patent office. ISBN-10: ISBN-13: Printed in the U.S.A.
Contents Foreword................................................................... 11 1. I am Getting Sick! ................................................ 13 2. I Do Not Feel Good! ............................................. 17 3. Viral Infection ...................................................... 21 4. Stomach Pains ..................................................... 25 5. Nausea .................................................................. 39 6. Weakness .............................................................. 55 7. Diarrhea................................................................ 71 8. Chills ..................................................................... 83 9. Loss of Appetite ................................................... 91 10. Diagnosis ..........................................................101
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my mother for training her children in the way they should go, believing in me, and reading this book repeatedly. As best described by my brother, she is the only human hero we know. I would like to thank my brother for brainstorming with me, providing his invaluable insight, and helping me finish writing this book. I want to thank my entire family, friends, church family and Pastors. Their counsel and support have been very instrumental in my continued growth in God. All the Glory belongs to God, for He is worthy!
Foreword by Jonathan Jackson
As many preachers say, in order for the Word to be preached, it must hit home first. In this case the message hit home physically and spiritually. The author has gained divine insight on the sickness in the body from her experience and the Word of God. She delivers a timely word that is for the Body of Christ to take heed and act upon. She made a decision to stop complaining about the symptoms in her spiritual life and get her prescription filled by the one and only Doctor who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we could ask or think. Sickness in the Body of Christ speaks to the Pastor, the Elder, the Evangelist, the Missionary, the Usher, the Deacon, the Prophet, the Teacher, and even those considering serving the Lord. The book takes you through the details of being sick physically and spiritually, but more importantly how the physical mirrors the spiritual. In this book, you will find a play book, that includes what symptoms are causing the pain but also a plan to uproot the sickness all together. This book will be used as a guidance tool for the planning, development and reconstruction of churches that have been sick and have caused the body to be spiritually stagnant. The book will
open many eyes to the state of the church. The very issues that most traditional churches refuse to discuss, is right here upfront and raw. I invite you to fulfill your calling, but also indulge in this prophetic word that the Lord has ordained for such a time as this. Once you have read this book it should ignite the fire that God placed in you by way of the HOLY SPIRIT. Regardless of your past situations your shortcomings, and the recent hurt that has taken place in church or in life. This book will give you the tools to heal and hope to regenerate the body spiritually so that you can have a fulfilling life and also help mend the kingdom of GOD.
1 I am Getting Sick! Everyone is quite familiar with that feeling you experience right before you get sick. Your head hurts, your throat is scratchy and you begin to feel an ache in every bone and muscle in your body. You might even go through your checklist.
• • • •
Did I drink enough water? Have I had my vitamin C recently? Have I been around anyone who was sick? What did I have to eat?
These are all classic questions that we ask ourselves when we think we are getting sick. We start washing our hands, drinking more water and taking Vitamins C, D and E. We want to get a good night’s rest, because being sick is no fun. Sickness actually puts you in a position where you may need to call for some assistance. Yes, a sick person may need to ask someone for help, call into work, or stay home from school. Depending on how sick a person is, he or she may not be physically strong enough to stand up or do anything for himself/herself.
Being sick is something most people try to avoid all the time, but sometimes it is just beyond our control. Working at a school, day care or any place where there are many people who do not have the same standards of cleanliness that you possess or the same manners (covering their mouths when they sneeze), you will always be exposed to potential problems. I heard an advertisement on the radio talking about the flu and how some people never get the flu. Even if those people do get the flu, they will still go to work, because they are strong and healthy. The advertisement also said that everyone is the same, and a strong, healthy person having the flu will cause someone who is not as strong to get sick. When that happens, there can be severe consequences of getting the flu. So, go out and get your flu shot. I laughed at this commercial, because I never get the flu shot and I have had the flu maybe one time in my adult life. I might have had it one time as a child. Nevertheless, as the commentator mentioned, never did I account for anyone around me getting infected because of my refusal to take preventions. Personally, I rarely get sick. I am pretty healthy and my body fights off diseases quickly. Sometimes, I will get sick, however, because I did not get enough rest, thus denying my body the strength it needs to fight off infections the way it should. I may get queasy because of something I have eaten or from having taken medicine with which my body is not familiar. Other times, I may get sick because I work in an environment where germs are more proned to live and thriveâ€”a school!
This book was inspired by the rare time that I became sick, and during that illness, God began to speak to me about my sickness and His people. I will warn you that there are some technical terms in this book, but they will be explained in detail and I promise you they all relate to the subject matter. I will also warn you that while I try to insert both humor and sarcasm in the book to keep it interesting, it is of the utmost importance to pay special attention to the subject matter, because it is extremely serious and is a timely word for such a time as this.
2 I Do Not Feel Good! One evening, I was not feeling well. My normal bedtime is around midnight, so if I am in bed at 8:30 pm, something is wrong. I climbed into bed, holding my stomach and praying my headache away. I figured I was tired or stressed, so a good night's sleep would do me good. I woke up the next morning only to find that my stomach still hurt, I had diarrhea and I could barely get out of the bed. This was such a foreign concept for me, because as I stated earlier, I donâ€™t get sick and I have never been this sick. I ran back and forth to the bathroom, but to no avail. The thought of food made my stomach hurt. I was nauseous, my body ached, my head hurt and there was no medicine in the house. I was so sick that I called my neighbor, whom I never call for anything except in an emergency. Take my word for it--I must have been sick to call him. I called into work and laid back in bed, hoping that by the time I got back up, I would feel better. Well, I did not feel better. I was really and truly sick. I had nobody to call, because all of my friends were either at work, out of town or had no transportation to get to my house. I live outside of the city, so unless a person has a vehicle to drive, there is no point in
attempting to come to my house. Public transportation will only get you within five miles, and you must walk from there. I realized that I just had to wait it out for the day. I figured it was a twenty-four hour bug, so I tried to let it run its course. I ate applesauce and drank ginger ale, but I couldn’t keep them down. It was the craziest thing to me that I could be so sick. I knew I would be better the next day, but to my dismay, I was not better. I was not worse, but I was no better. This was discouraging. I began to pray, because I was absolutely frightened by this whole ordeal. I figured I would have to call the doctor or maybe even have an ambulance come and get me. I barely had enough strength to move around and at one point, I think I crawled to the bathroom. I was easily out of breath, nauseous, tired, achy and physically drained. I looked for my insurance card to see how much I would be charged for an emergency vehicle to come to my house and take me to the hospital. I called my mom, and as always, she prayed for me and rebuked the enemy. Before that day, I would always laugh and say, “Mom, just because I have a headache, it does not necessarily mean you need to break out in prayer.” However, that day … I was ever so thankful that she broke out in prayer, because I needed it like never before. As the day progressed, I started to feel much better. I actually made it down the steps to get some food from the kitchen. To my surprise, I kept the food down and began to feel stronger. I was excited about this, because I had been a few
minutes away from calling the ambulance. I could just see it in my head -- the EMTs breaking down my door for all the neighbors to see. I would have been smelly, because I had been in bed for close to forty-eight hours without a shower. I would have looked like I had been hit by a truck with my clothes all mangled on me. They would have had to carry me out on a stretcher and my neighbors would be pointing and staring, saying they knew I was strung out on something. You know the person, the “town watch” who sees everything and misinterprets just about anything, the one who places her chair near the window to make sure that she sees her soap operas and still finds enough time to mind your business. Needless to say, by the next day I felt ninety percent better. I chalked it up as a forty-eight hour bug that I had picked up at school. A few days later, I was praying and the Lord brought my attention back to my brief illness. He said, “Just as you were in that state of sickness, so the body of Christ is sick. They do not want food, because they cannot digest the Word of God. My Word has been watered down, and it comes out the other end without being properly digested. They cannot and will not consume solid food, because they do not desire it and cannot process it. So, while they are in this state, they will continue to experience the symptoms that you had.” As you can imagine, I was in shock. The body of Christ is sick? What does this mean? Why did I have to be sick to hear that word? I know God used the life of Hosea with his wife to show Hhis love and commitment to us.
Hosea 1:2, “When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, ‘Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.’” Never, ever did I think that a calling from God would knock on my door. So, I started to do some research on my symptoms. To my amazement, God started speaking again and revealing to me exactly what Hhe meant by the bold statement that the “body of Christ is sick.” We (the church) have all the symptoms to prove that we have been infected with a virus.
3 Viral Infection The symptoms of my illness included: abdominal pains, nausea, fatigue (weakness), diarrhea, chills, loss of appetite, flatulence, body aches and pains. You are probably thinking TMI (too much information). I understand, for I would not be so crass as to discuss this with anyone if God had not given it to me this way. Often, we as Christians do not like to discuss things that can be seen as controversial, things that are of the world, or things that make us uncomfortable. A friend once said to me that just because something makes you uncomfortable does not mean you need to avoid it completely. I have found this to be true in life but especially true in my spiritual walk with God. The very thing that makes you uncomfortable may be the thing that God wants to discuss with you so you can be a blessing to someone else. Each individual symptom has its own purpose, agenda and remedy, but all of the symptoms combined have over twenty different possibilities of illnesses. I will name a few to start: influenza (flu), viral gastroenteritis, viral syndrome, food poisoning, mononucleosis, or gastritis. All of these symptoms have one thing in common â€“ they are viral diseases. A virus is an infectious agent of small size and simple composition
that can multiply only in living cells of animals, plants, or bacteria . The name is from a Latin word meaning “slimy liquid” or “poison .” Viruses are not considered to be independent living organisms. A viral disease is caused by a virus, which is something that has a corrupting or poisonous effect on the body. Since a virus cannot be an independent living organism, it must live off a host. This is similar to spirits, for they must possess a host for them to be effective. The Bible refers to several instances where an evil spirit resided in one person and had to be driven out. One prominent story is of Jesus meeting the man who had many spirits and called himself Legion. The word Legion means, “we are many.” Legion thought Jesus was there to torture them, so they asked to leave and go into a herd of pigs. They wanted another host, which tells us that the host did not have to be human. Many scientists believe that the human viruses we have today originally developed from animals. Scientists have proven that the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) originated from a monkey, which is called Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV). Studies show that the strain of SIV is almost identical to HIV, meaning a transference took place. The interesting thing about the viral transfer to other species is that it still has the same effect on the human as it does on the monkey. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him
anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. (Mark 5:2-5 NIV) There is a major similarity between the purpose of a virus and of a demon. A virus, very much like HIV, attacks the immune system, which is the body's defense barrier and then reproduces, which causes harm to your body. A demon attacks a personâ€™s mind, body and soul, which brings that personâ€™s defense down, causing problems in every area of his or her life. In the case of Legion, the demons possessed this man and rendered him restless, also causing delusions. He cut himself with stones and no one could control him any longer. I take this to mean that at some point he could be controlled. Viruses and demons do not manifest themselves right away; they take time to break down a personâ€™s defense, rendering that person helpless so the demons can take over. Often times, we may read this Bible story and think that this is the craziest thing in the world. We think of a man that we pass on the street who may talk to himself, may suffer from drug or alcohol addiction or one who is mentally ill. We do not often think that when we have allowed the devil to have a foothold in our lives, and if we are not cured or rid of our demons that they will take over and render us helpless. We do not think about the woman, man, boy or girl who cut himself or herself to ease the pain of life, of abuse, of neglect or of confusion. We do not think of the man or woman who
abuses his or her spouse or kids, because that person is unhappy and denies anyone close to him/her to experience happiness. It may not dawn on us to think of the young man or young woman who gives his or her body away to numb the pain of the past or for someone to stop and actually look him or her in the eye and say, "What is your name?" Why would we think of one who watches things on television, the Internet or who reads sensual novels to escape the reality of what that one believes he or she does not have? Demons and virus have one goal--to steal, kill and destroy. They will rob you of your life, your joy, and your happiness. Legion tried to destroy that man, but when Jesus divinely intervened, they were set on destroying something else. That is their goal and mission in life, to tear you from your God-given right to be free â€“ free from bondage, free from sin and free in Christ Jesus.
4 Stomach Pains The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12, NIV) I am a woman and I have not been officially diagnosed as lactose intolerant. Nevertheless, eating cheese and drinking milk does not always work out for my good. I share this because I want to lay the foundation that I am used to stomach pains. I like to eat pizza every once in awhile and I enjoy a bowl of cereal once a week. I understand that if I consume these products, my body, but especially my stomach is not always going to agree. Stomach or abdominal pain do not normally warrant a visit to the hospital. Depending on what is causing the pain, will determine how you treat the pain. Some of us let the pain die down or we sleep it off. Most of us might take a pill to cure what we assume is the root cause. In this particular case of my illness, one of the many symptoms was abdominal pains that were sharp and excruciating. I was literally slumped over in my house, praying. This pain stopped me dead in my tracks, because it hurt that
bad. This was not the "time of the month" pain, nor the pain one may get when they have consumed dairy products. In the body of Christ, there are many different parts that fulfill various roles. In our natural body, the stomach stores the swallowed food and liquids, mixes up the food, liquid and digestive juices, and empties its contents slowly into the small intestine. It is also key to note that the digestive juices are produced by the stomach . Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4, NIV) The Word of God is like bread or food for our bodies. It is absolutely necessary that we consume food and drink liquids, for we as humans cannot live without food or liquids. Therefore, we absolutely cannot live a life of freedom in Christ Jesus without the Word of God being consumed on a regular basis. This will tear down our immune system or our spiritual barrier and therefore we are subject to infection. You are what you eat, is a popular quote that you might have heard from your doctor or physician. When we consume food, it is not in a form that our bodies can use as nourishment, therefore it must be changed into smaller molecules of nutrients before they can be absorbed into the blood and carried to cells throughout the body. Digestion is the process by which food and drink are broken down into their smallest parts so the body can use them to build and nourish cells and to provide energy .
Why am I being so elaborate about how the body operates? It is the exact same way the church operates. The Word of God is preached, read or imparted into us via the Holy Spirit. It therefore needs to go through a process for us to break it down, so that we can digest it in order for it to be nutritious for our spiritual souls. If this digestion does not take place, we cannot properly receive the food that has been consumed and we do not receive the nutrients that our body needs to function. The body of Christ's stomach is not operating the way it was originally intended. We are having abdominal aches and pains and we are not digesting the Word of God. This has caused major rifts in the church, because a virus has infected the church and therefore we cannot do what God intended for us to do. The Word of God should be the church's nutrition, so that we as individual members can grow tall and prosper, so that the church community can reach out to help others and so that Christ can be glorified. This is not the case, the church is sickly and we have all the symptoms to prove that a virus has infected the body. One of the ways the aches and pains of the abdomen are manifested is in our fallen leadership. The church receives a big hit when the national and local leader falls victim to sin. This is a punch to the gut, because it sends the church hobbled over in pain. Clearly, the Word of God has not been digested properly and the stomach is not doing what it was intended to do, because the church is not receiving nutrients. The church cannot pass along the food, because it is not in a form for the church or others to receive. Who would put food in
their mouth, chew, swallow and vomit it back up and then try to offer the regurgitated food to another? When a mother is with child, whatever she eats is food for the child within. This food is broken down and the baby receives the nutrients that it needs to live. If the mother that is with child cannot digest food, the baby will die. If the body of Christ does not digest the Word of God, it will not be fruitful and multiply, but remain stagnant and die. Many may say, why are you blaming the leaders? The people of God have their manuals (the Bible) and the Holy Spirit. They can hear God for themselves. Yes, the people of God can hear for themselves, but Romans 10: 13-15 (NIV) outlines it for us. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: â€œHow beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!â€? Jesus always taught and preached the Word of God. He even commissioned His disciples to do the same after His ascension. The Bible says that Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God - Romans 10:17. Therefore hearing the preached Word of God amongst fellow believers is something that Christ demonstrated to His disciples. God ordained people to be leaders from the beginning of time. We may not have to go to the priest and confess our sins any
longer, but God works in an orderly fashion. Sheep without shepherds are left to their own ways of thinking. Some of us do not like to be referred to as sheep, because they are not very smart creatures. I have had the opportunity on multiple occasions to talk with people who no longer attend church; they do not hear the Word of God from a man or woman of God and they forsake the gathering of the brethren. When I meet people like that, I am never shocked to see how they have a different interpretation of various parts of the Word of God. They would say that we (churched folk) are indoctrinated and brainwashed, but I would say that they do not have a solid foundation, a Spirit guided interpretation of the Word, nor a God ordained, Bible teaching, unadulterated Word of God preached. This is an argument that has the potential to go on forever, but the point is "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death" (Proverbs 14:12, NIV). Jesus gave Peter a very important task that required him to re-think his natural profession. It was to take care of the people of God. When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17, NIV) Of all the things Jesus could have told Peter, He told him to take care of His lambs and sheep. This is significant for many reasons, because when a shepherd is lost, the sheep are lost. It is amazing how many people desire to be in leadership roles in the secular world, but more in the religious arena. It should not be a rant, but a calling from God. James 3: 1 (NIV) says Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. The hunger for power and respect that comes with being a man or woman of the cloth should never be an incentive to be a spiritual leader. The television, radio, book, podcast or web ministry should not be why a spiritual leader desires to be in ministry. Jesus' ministry was to help the broken-hearted, comfort the widows, provide hope for the hopeless, and train
His disciples through His actions and teachings. You are probably wondering why I decided to write a book, for if you see me on television or hear me on the radio - you may think that I am contradicting myself. Let me clear the air, before it gets cloudy. God called me to minister the Word of God before I entered into my mother's womb. I embraced this at one point and then put it down at another point in my life. God convicted me to the point that I had to embrace it and my spiritual leaders saw ministry within me, therefore, they encouraged me to accept my calling, God had already convicted me and then I was ordained as a minister. God has a heart for many things and if you have a relationship with him, He will share His heart and impress it on your heart. My instructions were to call God's people back to Him. Jesus said that we would do greater works, so I believe these include the books, television spots, podcast, radio and the web. These are just vehicles for spreading the Gospel of Christ. God using us in any of these vehicles is no indication that we have made it or that we have some special connection with God. Many have often abused their authority and not made it about God but about themselves, their personal goals and achievements. I preach the Gospel, because God has commissioned, anointed and appointed me to do so. I do not preach the Gospel to get a book deal, a spot on television or a radio station. If the Word can spread through these vehicles, I am not opposed to using them. But that's not my goal, nor should it be for any spiritual leader. I am not suggesting that leaders should be perfect, in order to be or remain leaders. I am stating that when a religious
leader goes down, it scatters the flock and any on-looking sheep that view the chaos, will continue to be confused and left to their own way. Why join a church filled with drama when you have enough drama in your life to write your own book? Why would one choose to be in a church when the people in the church are confused and not resembling Christ in their everyday life? Why serve a God that those "holy rollers" proclaim to be Savior, Redeemer and one that can set you free and they are not free themselves? Correction starts at the top. The church has allowed foolishness to go on within the house of God and it looks no different from the foolishness in the world. Leadership will be held accountable for their part in the mess along with everyone else, but God called the leaders to "feed His lambs, take care and feed His sheep." Greed, sexual immorality, pride, adulterous affairs, backstabbing, manipulation, and many more are deeds and qualities that some of our spiritual leaders possess. These are ungodly things that God will not put His stamp of approval on and say "Well done, my good and faithful servant." Please do not misunderstand me, in no way am I even suggesting that these things are not possessed by church goers, but what I am reiterating is that if God's people, who are called by His name, will humble themselves and pray and seek His face and turn from their wicked ways, then will He hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14, NIV) Unfortunately for the church and the people who have not
come to accept the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior, the body of Christ is currently hobbled over in pain and therefore cannot offer anyone any assistance. Some may believe that this is not true, because you know of a church that has grown and people are getting saved and delivered. Using the term, "the body of Christ" is referring to the church as a whole. There may be little sparks here and little sparks there, but as a whole, how much of an impact is the church making on the world? I want to also clarify some distinctions of church growth. It is not one member of a church, joining another church. It is not watering down the Word of God to accept anyone and anything in the church. I lost you here, didn't I? Why? Because God is love and He accepts everyone, right? Well, right and wrong. God is love, but He is also just and more importantly, He is jealous. This message messes with people's theology. The Bible that I have come to be acquainted with describes a God who is very clear about right and wrong. It clearly states that the only way to the Father (God) is through the son (Jesus). It clearly states that wickedness, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, drunkards, liars, cheats and slanderers are sinful lifestyles and those who do such things will not enter heaven. Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:910, NIV)
What you may find in the church now, are "spiritual leaders" who strive to be politically correct. You may find people who try to make David and Jonathan lovers. You may find churches who have the "Do not ask, do not tell policy." You will find all kinds of religions, sects, divisions and alterations of the Word of God, but let's be clear. Some lines may be unclear in the Bible, but there are some that are bold, italicized and underlined. Anything taught or "modeled" besides this is blasphemy and therefore will be dealt with by God. A friend once asked me if I thought that it was right that the "Do not ask, do not tell" policy in the military should be overturned. I replied by stating, what's wrong with it being overturned? Does it matter if It is kept in the closet or put out in the open, the heart is the same. I continued to tell him that many churches have the same policy and I think it is a neglect of the duty that God has called on the spiritual leader. They should be aware of what is going on with the sheep, because they are responsible for their spiritual souls. There is an extreme to this, because some leadership have abused their roles as pastors and shepherds over the flock and meddling into people's home, causing division, creating alliances and manipulating people. The line is not thin, nor is it blurry. However, "if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and talks like a duck, it is a duck." How the men and women of God ignore wife beaters, backbiters, liars, gossips, adulterers, homosexuals, lesbians, abusers, thieves, the fake and the phony in the church, in ministry, praying over people, being ordained and ministering to God's people and they KNOW their spiritual status is neglect. No amount of gifts or talent should ever cover up people's heart issues.
As a child, my mom would often check on me to see what was going on with me outside the house. She wanted to meet my friends, their families; she would visit my school, talk with my teachers and see how I was doing. She knew that in the house, I had the potential to be one way and outside of the house, I could be another. And she was right. In the house, I was the oldest, which meant I had to be an example to my brothers and sister. In most cases, I was my mother's voice to my siblings and I was usually in charge. So in the house, that is who I was. Outside with my friends, I was the daring, feisty and fearless one who spoke her mind a little too often. In class I worked hard, but I also was the jokester. All of those characteristics were all in me and depending on the situation, I could put on any of those faces. It is the same with the people of God. In church, we are the most saved individuals one could have ever met. Leave it to us; we are one step from glory. On our jobs, we barely know Christ and people may or may not notice anything different. With our non-Christian friends, we are non-Christian ourselves. With our saved friends, we are a work in progress. All of these characteristics are for our spiritual leaders to know, teach, preach and hold us accountable. They should definitely know it for those who are in leadership or seek to be in leadership. When one goes on an interview for the job, a good employer does not take the word of the person being that they are a good worker and can get the job done. They check references, they ask for work samples, they see if the person's personality is a good fit for the organization. I see the confusion on people's faces. Why would I compare the way of the world
with the way of God? Let's look at Jesus and how he picked his disciples. One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostlesâ€Ś" (Luke 6:12-13, NIV) Here we see Jesus praying the whole night before He picked His leaders to help Him in ministry. He taught, modeled, corrected, rebuked, prayed and ministered to them. He equipped them in order to release them to spread the good news of the Gospel. He taught them how to pray, encouraged them to lead, and gave instruction on what to expect as leaders and followers of Him. This is how spiritual leaders should select and train new leaders. Just because someone is your cousin, friend or colleague, does not mean they should be in a leadership position in the church. If a stranger off the street comes in and says that they are Elder Such and Such and they would like to join your church, it does not mean that they should be a leader in your church. If a woman or man says they are saved and come to your church, it does not mean that you appoint them as leaders. Some of these people, you would not trust with your own children or finances, why would you trust them with the people of God? They may not be your children, but they do belong to someone who is mighty, powerful and all knowing.
What happened to calling their previous pastors, churches or ministries? What happened to verifying the person's fruit and discerning their spirit? What happened to training, equipping and modeling the role of a leader? These things are essential, because we fail as leaders of God by appointing un-anointed, slanders and backsliding liars to be leaders and wondering why the flock is in such disarray. We bring the church to a crouched position of pain, when we are not in our rightful place as leaders of God. We bring the church down, when we do not allow God to pick His leaders and not themselves. When we allow wolves in sheep's clothing to come, rise and infiltrate the church with their virus and infections, we experience abdominal pains. The first thing the doctor will ask when a patient comes in with stomach pains is, where does it hurt? Once he verifies the location of the pain, he will ask more questions and some of them will be very personal. The doctor has brought up some personal issues thus far, but must be addressed in order to get to the root of the problem. As the doctor checks off his list, he can better identify the issue. Until the patient begins to share that they have more symptoms, the doctor begins to ponder what could be next, but waits patiently for the patient to speak through her sharp pains in the abdomen.
5 Nausea As the patient barely muffled that she was nauseous, the doctor was not surprised. The patient did not look good to begin with, so he figured it was more to the patient than a tummy ache. The doctor gave the patient a salmon colored basin to use if she felt the urge to vomit. The doctor figured that if the patient had abdominal pains, then nausea would normally accompany this symptom. When a person is nauseous, they experience an uneasiness of the stomach that often precedes vomiting . This nauseous feeling can be psychological or physical . Being nauseous is only a symptom of a bigger problem, usually one of the following: • • • • • • • •
Motion sickness Problems in the brain Pregnancy (early stages) Fear or emotional stress Certain diseases Food poisoning Infections Overeating and many more.
Have you ever been nauseous before? If you are familiar with this feeling, you probably know not to make any sudden moments, move fairly slow, because at any moment your stomach could turn upside down. Your body is signaling that it cannot handle what is going on at that time. It must release the tension in some way. Whether if is bad food, pregnancy, infections or just stress, the body has a way of letting you know what is going on under the hood. The body of Christ is the same way, because under our nice church buildings, our Sunday best attitudes, and our religious facet there is something wrong. Nausea in the body of Christ has been demonstrated in several ways, including the following:
• • • •
Viral infections have caused a rejection of the Word of God Unfamiliar movements in the church have shaken the body Over indulging in religion and not God has caused a distaste for God's laws and precepts The Word has been poisoned and infiltrated with foreign substances, causing a bad reaction.
For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12, NIV) The Word of God is so powerful, it will cut through any lie,
see through any deceiver and has the power to heal any soul. This is dynamic, because there is nothing else that is more influential than the Word of God. So, how does the deceiver of our faith get around the power of the Word? He starts by twisting the Word of God, using scriptures to vindicate himself and changing the meaning of the Word to suit his own personal needs. Let us look at the beginning with Adam and Eve, before sin entered the world and see how the Devil used the words that God spoke and changed them to suit his purpose. Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-4, NIV) Eve was minding her business in the garden, admiring the work of the Lord until the serpent approached her and inquired of her knowledge of God's words. Notice, He did not ask Eve what the Lord said, but questioned her interpretation of what he said. "Did God really say?" As if to insert doubt, like he knew better. Has anyone ever asked
you a question like that? You really do not drink? Not even socially? You really take ten percent of your income and give it to the church? I'm not sure about you, but I get these questions all the time. They are not really questions, but it is a ploy to insert doubt as if what you are abiding by is not right. The woman, Eve, corrects the serpent and gives him the facts as she knew them. They can eat from any tree, except the one in the middle of the garden. They also cannot touch it, because they will die. The serpent then makes his move. I'm going to pause right here, because this is where we as Christian mess up. We entertain the devil and his antics. We engage in conversation, network and call ourselves ministering to fools who have no desire to change. Remember, the devil or a virus' intent is to kill, steal and destroy. Do you reason with the enemy? Do you compromise with Hitler? Okay, kill those Jews on the east side, but ignore the Jews on the west side. No, you do not reason with craziness. You should not even entertain craziness. A friend of mine once said, "Trying to reason with a crazy person, makes you crazy." She is absolutely right, because they now have you on their level, which is set on crazy. You must be ordained by God to deal with certain people on their territory. We are often misled and misguided by entertaining certain foolishness. We reason among ourselves that since this person is telling me this and they seem to have a surety about the matter, they must be right on some level. No. We also reason with ourselves, that maybe we've been deceived and we need to open our minds. No. Some people even come to you with their personal experience and try to give you a testimony contrary to the Word of God. Then, it is no longer a
testimony; it is a test-a-lie. And if you wait long enough, the lie will be tested and it will fail. At one point in my life, I realized that I needed to lose weight. I became desperate to lose weight and wanted to see results as soon as possible. A colleague of mine kept telling me about this plan she was on and how she lost over forty pounds. I looked into it online and saw what this plan entailed. It would require me to buy pre-cooked meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and dessert. I would be required to eat them all the time and I would see the results, A.S.A.P. I almost clicked the purchase button on numerous occasions, until I started to do some research. I realized that I would need to eat this food all the time for the rest of my life, if I intended on losing and maintaining my desired weight. First of all, I am not a pre-packaged meal person and I'm an extremely picky eater. My grandmother used to say that my siblings and I are the pickiest eaters she has ever met. Yes, it is that bad. So, the idea of eating someone else's food and even worse, frozen dinners was horrifying. I was desperate enough to put myself through the agony, if I was going to see the weight come off â€“ so I thought. Well, I decided not to do this program, because it just was not feasible. I had no intentions of eating that food for the rest of my life and it would be a waste of money to have pre-cooked food in my freezer forever. This same colleague who kept telling me to get on this program, told me a few months later that she stopped the program, because she got tired of eating the food. She was pleased with the results and bragged about how she would have to buy a new wardrobe. A few months after that, she told me that she gained all of the weight back
and more, in spite of her watching her diet. Did my colleague lie about her weight loss? No. At one point, she did lose over forty pounds; however the weight lost was only contingent on her staying on this plan. Why am I comparing this to a test-a-lie. Because after the test of time, she could not maintain the weight lost on her own, without being a slave to the plan. Have you ever heard people testify about God doing something in their lives, but later on it did not go through? I have and it bothers me every time I hear it, because I think it secretly diminishes our faith. We inadvertently think, it did not happen for this person or we doubt God's ability to come through for us based off of other's experiences. Even the people that we think are so holy and righteous, we should never compare our lives or God's blessings based off of what happened to them. We do not know all the circumstances or God's plans for them, but what you should know is what God told you and be obedient to Him, for only He can see you through. Now, let us get back to Eve. She was aware of the words that God spoke, but she has now entertained the enemy. When I lived in the city, I would often use public transportation. A bus ride in the city of Philadelphia or Washington, D.C. could be similar to watching a reality show. Most of us knew the bus or train etiquette. Be busy, look uninterested, never stare, sit close to an exit and always mind your business. There would always be one person who was not aware of the rules and board the bus and sit next to the "that person" that everyone avoided. Their mere spatial presence was always enough for "that person" to engage in conversation, rant,
rave, confrontation, violence and more. One evening, I was the fool who forgot my bus stop etiquette. My friend and I were waiting for the bus and this lady walked up to ask my friend for a bus token. My friend, who is from the neighborhood and was only there to make sure I boarded the bus safely, quickly offered her apologies and moved away. I thought my friendâ€™s attitude was kind of abrupt, but said nothing because I know she is from New York. The lady then turns to me and asks me for a bus token. I assured her that I did not have one, but then I asked her a question with the intent to minister, because she looked like she might have struggled with drug addiction. Well, I got just what I was looking for, because my friend who was there with me, took a few steps back as if to imply, girl, you are on your own. That lady told me her life story, assured me that I, in fact, did have a bus token and that I just would not give it to her. She began to touch me on my shoulders, grabbed my hands for comfort in one minute and tried to convince me that I thought she was crazy in the next moment. She told me that she left this man, because he had another lover and she would not be sloppy seconds. She then told me that she had a blade and would cut him, if he even dared come near her again. She went on to tell me that she did not mind using a blade and the women in jail knew not to mess with her. Silly me, why did I not know to mess with her? Well, who do you think came around the corner? Yes, her man friend. He looked as if he had been beaten up and struggled with drug addiction as well. He started crying and begging her to take him back. Well, she reached in her pocket
to get the blade and then grabbed my wrist as if I was going with her. The truth is, I was terrified, thought she was crazy and wondered why I asked that lady if she knew our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Granted, I was very young, zealous, out of my element and on the rough side of D.C. at three in the morning. To make a long story short, I was relieved that her man friend came around the corner, in hopes that the lady would leave me alone. When she went to pull out the blade and grabbed my wrist, I tried to get away from her and to my friend who conveniently was further away this time around. The lady turned to me and said, see I told you. I was praying at the top of my lungs in my head, screaming prayers for help and for God to send His angels to come rescue me. I made peace with the fact that I would certainly die that night or at least get cut. I must have looked horrified by then, because the lady let me go after a few wiggles of my wrist. At that time of night, the buses tend to run every hour. I do not remember all the details, but all I know is that there was no fight, no one was cut and the next time I turned around they were kissing and fussing between kisses. The bus came soon after and she got on the bus and was about to sit next to me, until she saw me sit right behind the bus driver. I am not an extrovert by any stretch of the imagination, but I quickly started talking to the bus driver who was clearly not in the mood. I could have cared less, because I feared for my life. My stop was so far away and to my surprise, the lady got off before I did. She waved at me and said, nice talking to you. I nodded and smiled at
her, but I am certain fear was in my eyes. I happened to look at the building that was right in front of her stop and shook my head. It was a place for people who had mental illnesses. There were a lot of people out there, just sitting around, some arguing, and others trying to sleep. At the time, I could not wait to get home and was glad God did not call me to that ministry. What started off as a question, turned into what could have been a nightmare. The point of this story was to explain what can happen when we do things in our own strength. Some may say that what I tried to do was noble and others may say, at least you tried to witness to a lost soul. I felt like Eve, spouting off some words that someone told me, but had no understanding of them for myself. Eve knew what God had said, but when that was challenged and the serpent said that she would not die, because "God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evilâ€? (Genesis 3:5). The serpent was not lying, but Eve did not have a thorough understanding of the words from the Lord to digest properly and let it become nutrients for her soul. Instead, the twisted and venomous words of the serpent were ingested, causing spiritual death. When Eve ate of the fruit, the Bible does not indicate that anything physical happened to her in that moment. She was fine, until she gave it to Adam. Genesis 3:7 (NIV) says: Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and
they realized they were naked… Remember how a virus operates; it replicates within a host cell and it is not considered to be an independent living organism. It was not enough for Eve to eat the fruit and she had the knowledge, she had to enlighten her husband, because he needed to know right from wrong as well. Therefore, the fall of mankind occurred because of curiosity, lack of knowledge, and no real understanding. Before the human race had a chance to be fruitful and multiply, it already had an infection in the body. An ingestion of the forbidden fruit, which was disobedience to God's word, had entered into the blood stream, causing a viral infection before Adam and Eve ever reproduced. Motion sickness was another cause of nausea, which can be equated to unfamiliar movements in the church. Again, let us look at Adam and Eve. After the fall of man, the Bible says that Adam and Eve realized that they were naked. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave
me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3: 8-13, NIV) It was not uncommon for the Lord to walk in the garden, but what was uncommon was for them to be in hiding (or uncommon for them to not be visible). Imagine that, God actually reigned in the place where Adam and Eve dwelled, but they were nowhere to be found. Motion sickness occurs when the foundation of where one is positioned becomes unstable. It affects the sense of balance and equilibrium, and hence, the sense of spatial orientation . Adam and Eve's equilibrium had been shaken, their foundation was no longer solid and they felt the need to find their own way, because of the enlightenment. In the church today, we find the same thing happening. What was once balanced and solid is now shaky. A Baptist was a Baptist, a Catholic was a Catholic, a Christian was a Christian and sin was sin. Now there are so many determining factors of what all of those terminologies mean. Are you a Catholic who believes in birth control, or a liberal Catholic? Are you a tongue-speaking Baptist, or orthodox? Are you an open Christian or a walking in your deliverance Christian? It would seem as though nothing is firm, like God is not stable. On the contrary, God's Word will stand the test of time, unlike our own. We can dissect and devise all we want, but when it comes down to it, if we hold the Bible as the authority, all other things must come under submission.
Another example of nausea in the church can be described with what happened with Adam and Eve. God reigned in the garden and they were nowhere to be found. In anointed church services, God can be all in the building, but less than half of the people recognize that He is there. The others must be hidden, because the Bible says, even demons tremble at the name of Jesus (James 2:19). Eve's situation is very much like us (men and women) today. We know the actual words and what they mean, but we do not have an understanding of the Word and the impact of the Word in our lives. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ( John 1:1-5, NIV) We take the Word of God and dilute it with steps, formulas, inspirational speeches, but deny the power of God. It is an acknowledgement that the Word is known, but it has no power, no authority over our lives. It is just a good message that inspires us to do better by applying principles to my way of life, not being delivered or set free from the bondage that keeps us captive. When we resort to these methods and live by them, we have no power. Okay, if in the beginning was the Word, which was with God
and was God. The church having the Word is in essence having a God who is with us with the Word, because He is the Word. Okay, I lost you. Having the principles of the Word, is not having the Word. It has an imitation of the Word, which is having a form of Godliness, because he is the Word, and denying the Power thereof, because having the principles, is not having the Word. It is a fake and a fraud, which yields no power or authority over the enemy, because it is not the Word, which is not God, and then you do not have God, because you do not have the Word. (Read this a few more times, itâ€™ll make sense.) Without the Word, there is no balance, which makes us nauseous and therefore the Word cannot take root, because we regurgitate what was consumed, because it has nothing steady to hold onto. Being nauseous is a precursor to vomiting, meaning nothing can be kept down. Nothing is sticking, because it is on unstable ground. The body of Christ's physical condition is unstable and therefore, nothing is sticking. The Word is being rejected or regurgitated, because the once firm foundation has been lost with so many unstable traditions of man, delusion, perversion and misrepresentation of the Word. It holds no ground in peopleâ€™s lives, because it is on shaky ground. This is very much like the story that Jesus told about the sower. That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things
in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” (Matthew 13: 1-9) In this parable, Jesus is describing how the Word of God can fall on various people in different states and what will happen to the Word when it falls on a heart that has not been properly tendered. This analogy of the nauseous feeling is just like verse five describing rocky places. It is not a stable place to plant anything, it doesn’t have the right atmosphere and when the time come for it to stand the test of time, it withers. Do not make any sudden movements or enter into conditions that will cause you to be weak, because it could all come up at any moment. The church is withering, limb by limb, because the atmosphere is not right. It is shallow and has no substance or root. The wrong motives are in place, the wrong attitudes, the wrong doctrine, the wrong judgments. It is not conducive for the producing of fishers of men and fulfilling the Great Commission noted in Matthew 28:16-21. The doctor looked at the patient and then at the chart again,
because he had a funny feeling that the salmon colored basin was not all this patient would need. He hesitantly asked the patient, do you have any more symptoms, even though he already knew the answer.
6 Weakness The doctor could tell the patient was uncomfortable, because every once in a while, she would hobble over in pain and could not seem to find any comfort sitting on the bed. She held onto the salmon colored basin and sweat poured down her face. The doctor could not tell if the patient moved slowly, because she was scared to move too quickly due to the nausea or she was just that weak that she could not move. â€œThe patient finally mustered up the strength to say that she felt weak, like all the strength had been drained from her. The doctor nodded and noted this on his chart. According to Dr. Stoppler, weakness is a decrease in the strength in one or more muscles . Many people use the term weakness as a synonym for tiredness, although this is not technically correct . Weakness is only a symptom, not a disease. This symptom can only be caused by other health problems; the importance of weakness can only be determined when other symptoms are evaluated . It is important to note this, because I am sure some people are thinking about all the scriptures that say, it is a good thing to be weak. Jesus loves to help us in our weakness and even Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:30, â€œIf I must boast, I will boast
of the things that show my weakness.” We are not talking about this type of human weakness; we are talking about a physical weakness as a symptom of another problem. The Hebrew term for weak is synonymous with sick. What does physical weakness look like in a person? This can be displayed in several different forms, including but not limited to the following:
Body in a slouch position Unable or with great difficulty able to stand, lift, move, or shift weight
There is also a functional weakness, which is the weakness of an arm or leg due to the nervous system not working properly. Patients with functional weakness experience symptoms of limb weakness which can be disabling and frightening such as problems walking or a ‘heaviness’ down one side, dropping things or a feeling that a limb just does not feel normal or ‘part of them in’. Functional weakness there is no permanent damage to the nervous system, which means that it can get better or even go away completely . In my case, my entire body was weak and it was so tedious to move or shift my body from one side to the other. It was as though the energy or blood had been drained out of me and I was carrying around dead weight. I was unable to stand and a few times, I actually crawled to the bathroom, because I could not walk.
The kind of physical weakness that I have just outlined looks very similar in the body of Christ. The church has taken a lowly posture and not its rightful place that God intended. A person who stands tall, has good posture and good forum displays several things including confidence, strength, endurance, seasoned, trained, and disciplined. A person in a slouched position says the complete opposite: immature, selfdoubting, irresponsible, not confident, undisciplined, and insecure. What does posture have to do with anything? It has to do with everything, because a church that is unsure of itself, its vision, always moving, never abounding, and changing with every whim of doctrine, is one that is weak. It is not confident that the absolute Word of God is the beginning and the end. It is not sure that His Truth, never changes. It is immature in the things of God and has represented Him as amateurs, who are undisciplined and insecure. This is symbolic of a church that is weak, which comprises of a body that is weak. Some of you may say, well, I know of plenty good churches that do their part and those churches prosper, help people, and there is deliverance taking place. I will be the first to say, that is wonderful news. However, this form of functional weakness is very prevalent in the body of Christ. Based on the definition above, if the nervous system is not working properly, there could be an arm or leg that is not functioning properly. So, then I will say to the person who knows of plenty of good churches that do their part and they are prosperous, God forbid, one day you have functional weakness, would you go to the doctor and get checked out
or say, well, at least my tongue, leg and feet work? I do not need my arms to function properly. I highly doubt this would be anyone's response. We would all want to know what's wrong and how do we fix the problem. Beloved, that is what I am really trying to convey here. The body of Christ is sick and we need help. We are weak and are unable to stand. To stand up for God's Word, to stand on His promises, to stand on our faith, to stand strong in the midst of darkness, to stand up for what we KNOW is right. The body has been infiltrated with a virus and it is affecting our ability to operate the way God intended us to have dominion in the land. He has called us to be conquerors and overcomers, not the tail, not running in defeat and fear. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13, NIV) Now back to the person who knows plenty of good churches and the person who does not think this book or message has anything to do with him or her. If God has instructed us to put on the WHOLE armor, then it does matter that vital members of the body are exposed. If the baby toe was pierced and not properly attended to, it too will become infected, the infection will spread through the body and cause a premature death. The body of Christ does not have on the full armor and the day of evil has come and continues to come and we as the body have been unable to stand.
In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul is correcting an abuse of the Lord’s Supper. He sets the record straight and also tells them why they have experienced what they have, because they have been doing it wrong all along. In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. Do not you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter! For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of
the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world. (1 Corinthians 11: 17-32) This is a key scripture for this symptom, because it is in context. Verses 27-29 say that, because you carelessly do these rituals and are in sin, you are condemning yourself and that is why you are sick and weakness will be one of your symptoms. This weakness is from not doing things the right way and the way God ordained. Paul starts the entire chastisement that says, Am I to Praise You? It is interesting, because the Lord pressed upon me to write this book and my natural instincts is to not want to point out the wrong things with the Body, but point out the good. However, the Lord has literally given me strict instructions. There was nothing good about my 48 hour bug. I mean, absolutely nothing. I was weak, feeble, sick, and not useful to anyone. To glorify that or praise that, is crazy. That is what is wrong with some people, and especially people in the church. People glorify foolishness, they praise and do things out of order, they allow disobedience, they talk about it at home and smile
at church. Things are constantly going uncorrected and then there is a spirit of error in the entire camp and we wonder why? Because it was never corrected when it first began. The Apostle Paul said, I will not praise you. Your meetings cause more harm than good. I am not sure if you have ever been in a situation like this, where the church caused more harm than it did good. I have and it was not pretty, nor was I strong enough to continue to stand and endure that mess. Again, I was raised in the church and had a sensible idea of what was right and wrong, but it wasn't long after college that I had joined a church and at this time, really given my life back to God. I was extremely over zealous and spiritualized everything. At this point in my life, I was very young, but very moved by gifts and talents. I never would have thought or admitted this, but looking back, I was for a moment. I thought that since these people (Pastors) were famous and popular in the Kingdom of God, this must be right. They must be anointed, and look at all these other people flocking around them. This must be of God. I did not join that church, but the very gifts and talents that I observed in those "famous" pastors, were similar (or so I thought) to the pastor's of the church that I did join. Well, it took a few years before I left, but maybe one year, before I saw what really was happening. To sum up my experience was said best by Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:1: "your meetings do more harm than good." My church at the time was more than a few cities away from my house. After about a year and a half of attending faithfully,
when I entered the city, I would get pains in my stomach and had to drink ginger ale every Sunday. There was an attempt for me to keep it together on the outside, but as my doctor always tells me, the body does not lie. I was scared that I would get gallstones or have a stroke in my early 20's, because of the stress this church put on me. I'm not talking about doing the things of God, I am simply referring to the backbiting, conniving, lying, using the pulpit as a bully pit, judgments, jealousy, infidelity, and outright rebellion that came from leadership. There were so many headaches, cramps and tears that I would hide when I would leave there after the service was over. I have witnessed people being badgered "in Jesus name," pushed down, lied on, cursed, people playing God and doing the wrong things and calling it God. I took many a stands, but I became bitter. I was angry at them, angry at God, because of this false notion that God had put me there and I had to endure every bit of it, until He released me from that church. One day, I had witnessed the most despicable scene imaginable. Some of the leadership of the church was convinced that a young woman in the church, who had been a member for three years, was ordained a minister in that very church and who had attended faithfully had now become a threat to their regime. On a regular ole' Sunday, the Pastor was preaching and like any other Sunday, that young lady would stand up and encourage the Pastor to speak the truth. Depending on what type of church you are familiar with, this may seem odd, but it was not uncommon for someone
to cheer or encourage the Pastor or even bring their offering up to the pulpit and leave it there while the Pastor was preaching. If you have seen some televangelist, then you will know what I am referring to by this story. I saw the young lady grab a few bills and started going up to the front with everyone to give her offering. Several ministers stood up and blocked her from coming up front; I mean, physically blocked this woman from coming to give an offering. I could not believe my eyes. This went on for what felt like hours, but maybe a minute or two. The young woman kept on telling the Pastor to preach, because he was in fact preaching about most of the foolishness that was going on in church. He did not however, say anything about that foolishness that happened inches away from him and did not correct the other pastor or ministers who sanctioned such, concluding that he was in agreement. This was how it mostly went at this church. He did not run it, the other pastor did behind the scenes with or without his help. This particular young lady, they had once embraced as a daughter. She had stayed with them on numerous occasions, and they anointed her to preach the Gospel all over this nation. She was very instrumental in bringing many people to Christ, but because she would not stand with them to ostracize other members or be a part of that clichĂŠ, she was treated like a leper in front of the entire church. It was a sad thing to witness and I believe I was so shocked that I held my breath the whole time, my hands were shaking and I was not able to drive. That was it. I went home, cried and prayed, because there was no way God had me in this place to learn
and fellowship with those people. They were not following God, so why was I following them. That should have been my last day, but I was not strong enough to even hear the release. I had slipped away and became bitter. I would come to church extremely late and amused myself with their foolishness. They had moved locations and did not even inform certain people, they had moved. It was a mess and I witnessed many people come through there, get excited for God (or the people's gifts), see the foolishness, and go back to what they were doing and even worse. I did leave that church and I did it gracefully and in order. I could not say that I matured or even grew and I will not say it was their fault, because it was my salvation. I was not as strong as I thought to endure that type of persecution and continue to stand the way I knew to stand. Somewhere inside of me, I felt that if God let them continue to be like this, then He could not have been paying much attention to me. I was wrong. God had allowed me to be in a situation so that I could see my level of endurance or simply just how saved I really was, and not what I claimed to be. He already knew, I did not. It took a few months for me to get back, because I had been injured. Inflicted by the church, the very place sick people are supposed to go, was the very place I was wounded. Paul's message then is still the same today. In layman's terms. Hi, my name is Paul and I am not sure if you think ministry is
about you, your ego or your title, but it is not. Your rendition of "church" is hurting more people than it is helping. You are raising spiritual bastards, because you are one yourself, so hear my words, because my name is attached to your ministry and more importantly, Jesus Christ's name is supposed to be the base of the ministry, but He is far from it. Therefore, this is how it is supposed to go… In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. (1 Corinthians 11:18) Paul is addressing the Church of Corinth, by stating that he hears about their progress. At this point in Paul’s ministry, it is believed that he was in jail, writing to the churches he has visited, or his protégés have ministered to. The saying is good news travels fast and bad news travels faster. Paul hears about the state of that the church all the way in jail, just like unbelievers know more about the church and what goes on – even more than the believers. Bad news travels faster. Paul is speaking to the church from an overseer’s point of view. He is stating what he has heard is not good and they need to change it, not because he is exercising his authority, but because he knows full well what divisions will do to any community of people. “Under the umbrella of Christianity, there are many different dissects and denominations that believe many different things. As time has gone by since Jesus rose again, these divisions have increased and multiplied. See the issue was never that people believed different things, but the issue was that all these different people would spend more time arguing about their differences rather than focusing on
their common ground. 1. Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? 2. Do you believe that He died and rose on the third day? 3. Do you believe in the second resurrection? If you have answered, yes, to these questions, I wish I knew which bracket of Christianity to put you in, but there are so many and things get taken out of context. Other questions that often come later:
• • • • • • • •
Do you believe in women preachers? Should women stand in the pulpit? Should women wear skirts? Should someone be ordained an Apostle? Should someone be ordained as a Reverend? Do you believe in the marriage of a man and a woman only? Do you believe in hell? Do you believe in tithes and offerings?
I will not spend time debating any of these beliefs, but I will say that most of these beliefs whether for or against is a manmade religion. Unfortunately, there are not many people who will say, yes, my personal conviction is this, but I will not let this hinder the voice of God. Some people stop attending church all together. I am sure they have their reasons and I have had my reasons and good one's at that, but the test will always come to see whether you know about Him or know
Him in the power of his suffering. Paul wrote to Timothy to explain these very things. He says in 1 Timothy 1: 3-7 (NIV): As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing Godâ€™s workâ€”which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm. What needs to happen, you ask? Well, first we need to look inside. As I stated before, I will not blame anyone for the mistakes that I have made. I will not blame the church for my weakness or shortcoming. I have to look at me first. I Corinthians 11:28-29 says, Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. Discerning the body of Christ, is not just a physical look up and down at yourself. Christ is within us and to discern its
Body is to look at ourselves. It is not the church's fault, not your parents' fault, not the fault of the people at the church. It is a decision that must be made by you. You have a choice. As I stated before, when I was sick, it felt like all the blood had been drained out of me and I was carrying around dead weight. Let us make the correlation with the church. If the blood (that give us strength, from day to day) is no longer present, then what do you have? How can there be a church with no blood? Just like there cannot be a living body without blood, there cannot be a church without the Blood of Jesus. The Blood of Jesus is a covering, It is the living Word manifested. It is our saving grace, strength, and redemption. It is what was shed for many so that we might be free from a law that we could never fulfill in its entirety. As the songwriter says, The blood, that gives me strength, from day to day, it will never, ever, ever, loose It is power. The Blood of Jesus is our power, our energy and if it is gone, the only thing left is a room full of people. The only thing that ties them together is form and fashion, just like a board meeting. What is the business or what is on the agenda today? Without the Blood, we are dead weight and a hindrance. God is very clear when it comes to being for Him or against Him. You are either one or the other, because there is no middle ground. Weakness is something that will drain your energy and cause you to be dead weight. So, now imagine a deadweight church, trying to do kingdom things. We see it all the time. A dead church does not have to be one that does not praise God, when the praise team leader says stand and praise God. A dead church can shout you around the
corner, preach you under a pew, and spit scripture at you without a stutter. This can be misleading, because liveliness has nothing to do with what is going on inside. Giving a remedy for a dead church is not addressing the issue. As the doctor looked at the woman, he realized there were more symptoms to come and providing her with a temporary fix would not get to the main issue. He needed to know it all, before he could make a diagnosis. He waited in anticipation to see what was next.
7 Diarrhea The doctor continued to monitor the patient, because he could really sense, this was no ordinary “I want to get out of work” sickness. The patient was quite surprised by the doctor’s patience, because she was used to doctors moving quickly, scribbling their signature on a prescription, calling on nurses to handle the “light work” and giving a diagnosis. However, the patient could tell that the doctor really cared. She was moving slowly, needed assistance standing on the scale due to weakness in her body and was speaking very softly, because she felt that any sudden outburst or movements, she would have lost the contents both through the front and the back. She felt absolutely horrible and she had never felt this sick before. She was glad that she had a patient doctor, but could not really relay this to him at that point in time. She had so many symptoms, she really did not know where to begin when the doctor would ask if there was anything else. But then a sharp pain ran across her stomach, that travelled to the lower parts of her abdomen, which put excruciating pressure on her bowels. She staggered towards the bathroom door of the doctor's room and belted out -
DIARRHEA. Diarrhea is loose and watery stools; it typically happens more than three times in a day and usually can last between one and two days . When food is digested it already has a certain amount of liquid that it needs to properly digest the foods. When someone has diarrhea, there is an extra amount of water in the stools, which can be for many different reasons. Here are few examples of reasons this happens: 1. The stomach and/or small intestine secretes too much fluid, 2. the distal small intestine and colon do not absorb enough water, 3. or the undigested, liquid food passes too quickly through the small intestine and colon before enough water is removed. This is a little technical, but I need for you to understand the correlation between how the physical and spiritual body digest food. When the body of Christ or a believer hears the Word, the digestion process will start once it reaches the ears. The Word is Living, so it looks for another that is already inside of you to help digest the Word. So, if you hear a word of deliverance for your finances and you are not having financial problems, as the Word searches, it may not find what is needed in order to digest that Word. However, if your problem is health related, and the Word of God comes to you, that you shall live and not die; the Living Word will not have to go far, before it finds the Word or need within you to help it digest.
We see this happen all the time. The Word of God is looking for what is already in you, which should be the Word of God, because it is the Living Water to help digest or manifest the Word of God within you. Yes, we are back to John 1:1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Now, what does all of this have to do with the body of Christ having diarrhea? If the body is not digesting the food properly or normally, as stated above, there are some reasons why. Either there is too much fluid, meaning that the Word of God is not grabbing onto the Word of God, but other things that dilute the Word of God, which will tarnish and damage the manifestation of it in your life. Either there is not enough fluid or Word of God within you that can handle the manifestation. Or the manifestation of the Word of God is prematurely brought forth and did not have the time, patience, long suffering or love to remove the extra and bring balance to the system. That is a lot to digest. Pun intended. There are many different types of fluids within the Body and each one has its own purpose, but any excess or absence of these fluids within the body will cause a domino effect. Having too much fluid or an unbalanced amount of religion that looks like the Living Water or doctrine that imitates the Living Water will taint the way we receive the Word. For example, a non-denominational preacher can preach a message to twenty different people and depending on their religious affiliations or background will determine how these twenty people will interpret that message, meaning that our religions are serving as the "colon" for the body of Christ. It can affect how we
interpret, digest or taint the manifestation of the Word of God in our lives. Selah. Let us use an example: God has a message for His people, but He uses a woman to speak the Word of God. Depending on your religious affiliation, this will do one of a few things for the hearer: either they will hear the Word, accept it and wait for the manifestation, mean absolutely nothing, because they are too sick to actually digest the Word or they could be so outraged at the thought of a woman speaking in front of men, that they heard the Word, but could not process it, because the passage way was blocked by their religious background. Selah. The other reason why the church could have diarrhea, is because there is not enough Word to grab on to and digest in the first place, meaning that when the Living Word has been given, it searches to connect with the Word that should be in the body, but in its absence it cannot manifest itself. Hebrews 4:12 says, For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. If the Word is searching through the thoughts and attitudes of the heart and is coming up with carnal thoughts and worldly attitudes, what is the Word to do? It has nothing to grab on to and take root, therefore it is passed through in the form of diarrhea, meaning it's rhetoric, it is blotched
and tainted and it cannot manifest itself the way it was intended. The last reason the Body has diarrhea, is because the Word is passing by too quickly and does not have time to mature. Again, going back to my young, zealous and immature days, I heard the Word, became excited and was going to walk in my calling. Too quickly, too fast, too much is a recipe for disaster. The Word again is not taking root, steps are being missed, the process is not being followed and mistakes will ultimately happen as a result of this. It happens in the Body all the time. I used to listen to the preachers who would say that when they told their pastor they were called to preach. The pastor said, really, well let us get you a mop and a broom, so you can start to clean the bathrooms. Sounded odd, but the pastor was trying to teach the young preacher to be about serving people and having a humble spirit, before ministering to God's people. I am not sure if you have seen any spiritual leaders without a servant's spirit and haughty, it is not a good combination for an ambassador of Christ. It is actually detrimental to the body. Diarrhea can cause dehydration, which means the body has lost too many fluids and electrolytes, therefore prohibiting the digestive system to not function properly. Very similar to the body of Christ, once the body has been infected, the digestive system does not work properly and causes diarrhea, which results in what was once solid food consumed for nourishment is now escaping in the wrong form
and causing a chain reaction which is not healthy for the body.â€œThe body of Christ (us) is unable to break down the Word of God properly, because the virus within the body is rejecting it and not allowing us to digest the Word in the way it was meant. This sounds very similar to what Paul was referring to in II Timothy 4:3-4. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. Newborn babies have very loose and sometimes watery stools. They also have frequent stools, because they do not absorb food very well, and much of it is excreted into the stool . After the first few months, absorption improves, resulting in thicker, and more frequent stools. As their bodies continue to grow, the density of their food changes and their digestive system develops - this will impact what is coming out of them. â€œAfter the baby's organs have grown, they can digest food which will become stiff, hard and sometimes a little tougher to pass. This is healthy as a baby matures. Similarly, it is healthy to be able to digest solid food correctly as a newbie is maturing in Christ. So, what is now wrong with this twenty-first century church? We are not the first century church - still figuring things out, or are we? The church of the twenty-first century should be further along than what we are currently. Our report should not be what
Jesus said to the Church of Ephesus; to repent and do the things you first did (Revelation 2:5). That should not be our message, but that what He said to the Church of Thyatira You are now doing more than you did at first"- Revelation 2:19. Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation. (1 Peter 2:1-2) Peter is speaking to new believers and he is being very specific when he said what they need to get rid of, and what they should be craving. There should be a thirst and yearning for the Word of God. This is for our own growth, the growth of us as believers and the entire body of Christ. Have we grown? Have we grown as a body? Some people may think this is elementary, however, a real assessment of the growth according to God's ruler may say otherwise. As stated above, diarrhea can be caused by those who bypass the milk and want to jump to the meat. Well, this is addressed in Hebrews 5:12 - 6:1: In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish
good from evil. Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity..." Ouch! These words were not meant to cause discouragement, but to let us see the severity of the matter. If we are still dealing with the basics of salvation, then are we unable to digest meat. Is this why the body of Christ has diarrhea? Have we developed to the place Jesus has called His pride? Why are we not manifesting the miracles of God? The prophecies that have been told? Why are we still dealing with what it means to be a saved, born again believer? Why does that look different among so many Christians? We are still dealing with salvation. We are still dealing with who can preach, raise an offering, sing the best, play the best, dance the best, and look the best. Why are we still at this place? Matthew 15:11 says, What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.' The body of Christ is not defiled, because the Word of God is not nutritious or available, but because what is already on the inside of us (the body) has infected us and has caused us to be sick and have these symptoms. When the body is infected with a virus, something as simple as digesting food can become a chore for the body. An alien force has invaded the body and its attempts to correct this invasion will result in other functions of the body to not
work properly. Another side effect of diarrhea is dehydration, because it depletes the Body of its supply of water and nutrients. I am not sure if anyone has ever been dehydrated, but it can be very deadly. Unfortunately, I found out the hard way and found myself in the doctor’s office. My symptoms were very similar to that of this first incident in Chapter One. I was nauseous, achy, fatigue, and I had a migraine that crippled me, kept me up and kept me in bed. The migraine was so bad that I could not even fall asleep, which is usually what I do when I get a headache. I took some medicine and a few hours later the pain in my head literally woke me up. I went to the doctors and they asked if I was pregnant, I assured them that I was not. She wanted a urine sample anyway. I had no idea what was wrong with me. It had to have been a rare disease, because I was so sick and again, I never get sick. I started to think it was the early symptoms of those crazy diseases, like on the TV show House. My job was concerned, my mother was worried and I felt out of my mind. I went to give the urine sample and my sample was the darkest that I had ever seen. I just knew then, my organs were failing. I did not catch it in time. After a few minutes the doctor came into the cold office with a cup of water. She glared at me and said, do you know that it is ninety-nine degrees outside? She pulled out her iPhone and showed me the weather. I said, oh wow, Yes it is really hot. She raised her voice slightly and said, “You are dehydrated.” I laughed and said, “oh, that is all.”
She raised her voice again and said, “That’s all.” She put her iPhone up to my face and said, “It is ninety-nine degrees outside. I am surprised you did not pass out somewhere.” She made me stay in that office for an hour to drink water and urged me to stay away from the water substitutes, because there was no substitute for water. She then gave me a lecture on what could have happened to me if I continued to not drink water. As a non-water drinker, I was scared. Now, I keep water in my house and make sure I drink enough of it every day.“As I drove back to my job, I saw the Vitamin Water in my cup holder and remembered that I did have some water that morning. I remember because it was cold, had ice chips and it felt so good in the hot weather. I began to wonder why I still did not feel good if I just had Vitamin Water that morning. This water claimed to be water, and contains vitamins, but I still was scolded, my urine was dark and I was on the verge of passing out. How could this be? Simply put, there is no substitute for the real thing. Just as there is no substitute for water, there is no substitute for the Word of God. Inspirational messages, twelve-step programs, biblical principles and the like do not, and will never be a substitute for the powerful, living Word of God. “When I was dehydrated, something so simple, was the root of something that I thought was so serious. I thought I had a rare disease, but what I did not have was a basic necessity. The human body is made up of sixty percent water. You would think there would be some to spare. Well, no, because
it is the foundation or should be of our bodies. Just like the Word of God should be the foundation of the body of Christ. The doctor noted on his chart that the patient needed water, because diarrhea is a common problem that can usually be fixed by hydrating oneself with water and restoring the electrolytes that are needed in your body. However, that would not solve the problem just that one symptom. He still was unsure as to what could be wrong with the patient, but he was determined to find out.
8 Chills The doctor had a hunch that his new patient may have a viral infection, because of her symptoms, but he did not want to make any diagnoses before he received all the facts. She had, in fact, displayed a few symptoms thus far, but he was almost certain there would be more. The real question was, how many more? He looked at the woman and thought she looked familiar. She was extremely beautiful, but looked like hell had come her way and inserted havoc on her body. He could tell she was not well and it was not a game. She had on what may used to be a white dress, but it was soiled and very wrinkled. Her hair was tangled, like she had not washed it recently and she had an odor like she had not bathed as well. In her condition, he was not shocked by this, but as a doctor he had seen far worse. There was no need in making any judgments, because when someone is sick, it will prohibit or cause them to do the unthinkable. The doctor had other patients, but he decided to make this his priority. He did not want a nurse to handle this case. This one was his to cure.
A few moments later, the patient returned from the restroom, still looking pretty mangled and moving very slowly. He noticed that while she was physically sweating, she was holding and rubbing her arms as if she was cold. When the patient finally returned to her chair, the doctor asked, "Are you hot or cold?" The patient responded through chattering teeth, â€œI am shivering and extremely hot.â€? She put the back of her hand up to her head and quickly grabbed her arms again as if she was cold. The doctor then held the back of his hand to her head and was shocked that she had no fever. He mentally noted that usually when someone has chills or the shivers, this is before the fever comes along. The patient continued to shake and the doctor continued to take her vitals. He was afraid that this was more than influenza and hopefully not some foreign alien disease that would take months to figure out. Her symptoms seemed to increase for the little time she was in his office. He continued to observe her as she lay on the examination table, stripped of her strength and shivering. She would occasionally groan and grab her stomach and reach for the basin because of her nausea. The doctor knew there were more symptoms to come, because the chills occur when the body is trying to regulate the body's core temperature. It is a rapid muscle contraction and the body's way of generating heat when it feels it is cold. Chills often predict the coming of a fever, or an increase in the body's core temperature .
God strategically created the body to regulate itself when something is wrong. One of the reasons we need to be exposed to a certain amount of bacteria is so that our body can know how to fight off infections. The body is smart and recognizes foreign things and it adapts to different environments. The same with the body of Christ. When foreign objects infiltrate the Body, the body shakes. A shift happens, because the core temperature has just changed. Chills obtained from a sickness usually come and go. It is not a constant state, but intermittent. You can be hot one minute and cold the next to the point of needing extra clothing. Often women going through menopause experience the range in temperatures all within a fifteen-minute span. Chills are often the precursor to something worse. If the body is hot one minute, cold the next. What is it really? It is unstable. This is the same with the church, unstable with philosophy, unstable with beliefs, unstable with doctrine, unstable with their relationship with God. Nothing is ever right or consistent. The temperature is always changing, which means there is no stability. Jesus addresses the Church of Laodicea. He says, To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have
acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. (Revelation 3:14-19) Jesus directly approaches the church of Laodicea and says, I know your deeds and you are neither hot nor cold, I wish you would pick whose side you're going to be on. That is a bold statement! Jesus wishes that everyone would have life and have life more abundantly in Him, but He is clearly stating â€“ pick a side. Joshua said, as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. Now, most of us think that we serve the Lord, however, upon observation; Jesus may have a different report. The body of Christ is shivering, because there have been some changes in the core temperature of the body. Doctrines, laws, and institutional pillars have changed. Please do not misunderstand me, there are things that need to change in order to adapt to the times. I think these things include how we draw people in, they include our mode of communication, they include service times, they include the style and type of music within reason, etc. However, changing foundational principles that are in direct violation of the Word of God causes tremors in the Body. The Body is like, what is going on? Should I adapt, should I fight this. Was this here the whole
time and I didn't notice? Have you ever seen a new mole on your body and wonder if you never noticed this for the past forty years? It happens and we question ourselves, our ability to make decisions and assume that the people making the changes are smarter than we are and if they say it is okay, then it must be okay. Wrong! The Bible says, I know your deeds. Pick a side, because I am about to spit you out. The Lord is disgusted. The body of Christ is shivering as a way to regulate the core temperature, because there is an infection that will only get worse if left untreated. Chills are the pre-cursor to a fever, which is a rise in internal body temperature to levels that are considered to be above normal. A fever may be a cause of concern, but it is rarely a reason for panic unless it is occurring in very young children, sustained for more than three days, or so high as to approach heatstroke risk . Equating very young children to babes in Christ is very simple. A babe or new born believer who witnesses the irregularities in the body, becomes confused. They either elope or create a new doctrine, with lukewarm tendencies. Where do they get this from, the inconsistencies with the believers? Saved on Sunday and a menace on Monday. Since, I almost never get sick, when I am actually feeling symptoms like chills, they fascinate me. I have seen people with chills, but I just could not imagine what it actually felt like, until that day. How is it 85 degrees in a room with no air
and I am shivering like it was 35 degrees and sweating all at the same time? How does the body of Christ display this, one may ask? Well, let us take a look at the Church of Thyatira. Jesus says to them, “I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.” Let us focus on this first. The church is doing a good thing as if it was normal and of normal temperature. They are working, they have ministries all over the world, probably even commercials with the little children on there being fed and taught by the missionaries that we have provided funds to via their online ministries. They are faithfully working, faithfully giving, faithfully coming to church – doing what they are supposed to do and check it out. They are patient, nice people of God. If you ever met not-so-nice people of God, they did not belong the Church of Thyatira. They were patient, giving and just genuinely good Christians right? Verse 20 goes on to say, “Notwithstanding, I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.” So, how can a church be faithful, patient, giving to charity and let Jezebel into their camp and not expect it be infiltrated. They were a solid church, but they ALLOWED Jezebel,
which callest herself a prophetess to teach and to seduce. This is key, Jesus is pointing out that she is a self-named “woman of the cloth”, so she can teach and seduce. What did the serpent do to Eve. He proclaimed to have an understanding of the Word that God spoke to Adam and wanted to provide clarity for Eve. In other words, Eve was seduced. Not sexually, but mentally seduced by the words of the serpent. In Genesis 3: 5-6 says, For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat... What does a seducer do? Entices the senses to make something or themselves more appealing than they actually are. That tree was there the entire time. The Bible does not let us know where Eve was standing in the garden, but Eve knew the tree and knew to not eat of it, however all of a sudden it looked good, was appealing and – would give her wisdom. That is the Jezebel spirit that can be present in a man or a woman. It is one that yearns for power and will self-proclaim to be whatever suits their fancy. They are not always in front. A lot of times they can be the person next to the one with power and have a greater influence with a leader who is weak-minded and can be easily manipulated. The church is working, but Jezebel is working as well. Jesus says, you “sufferest” or the Amplified version says,” tolerate."
How can you be hot and cold and trying to function on a normal core temperature. There will be rifts, dissension, divisions, and sects that will eventually prevent the body of Christ from moving forward as a whole. If one can drive away 1,000 and 10,000 why would we want division, when the enemy can easily conquer 1,000? So the trick of the enemy is to divide and conquer. It is the oldest military trick in the book. In 1 Samuel 14:20, the Philistine army turned and killed each other in confusion. That is what the enemy wants the church or body of Christ to do. Fight amongst each other, focus on each other, kill off each other and their job is easier. If all the members of the Body worked together, they would be a contender. In Genesis 11: 1-9, God saw that the people were of one language, united and set on doing wrong. In verse 6, God said, â€œthe people are one, and they have all one language, and this they begin to do and now nothing will be restrained from them.â€? This is the same for the Body, now, if we were on one accord, what would we not be able to accomplish within the Body, our communities, our cities, states, government, and the world? The woman continued to shiver and felt no relief. She began to wonder what the good doctor was planning and how come he was not providing any diagnoses. She had enough symptoms; he should know something by now. She did not know what the hold-up was, but thought maybe he was too patient.
9 Loss of Appetite The doctor still was not entirely sure about the cause of the illness. Thus far, he noted the following symptoms. 1. Abdominal Pains 2. Nausea 3. Weakness/Fatigue 4. Diarrhea/Watery stool 5. and Chills. The doctor asked when was the last time the patient had any food. She shuddered at the sound of the word food and muttered, "yesterday". The doctor then asked, "what time"? She answered, "around noon." The doctor looked at her with a puzzled look and asked, "so you haven't had anything in over twenty-four hours?" She answered, "Yes, I cannot even think about food and I can not keep anything down.â€?
So, the doctor noted that the patient had one more symptom: 6. Loss of appetite. I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourageâ€”with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (II Timothy 4: 1-5) Writing this book was extremely challenging for many reasons. I knew that it could be very controversial, not just for unbelievers, but for believers as well. I knew that it could be deemed as anti-semantic, not biblical, or too simplistic for the theological or clinical reader. Taking all of these into consideration, the one scripture that I held on to, was II Timothy 4:1-2. No matter what the times are, the season, you need to preach the Word. Not my word, but His Word. This is to encourage all leaders and layman who are preaching and living the Word of God and everything seems to be falling apart. People are leaving your church, smiling in your face and stabbing you in the back, causing dissension and division, not returning your phone calls, de-friending you on Facebook or stopped following you on Twitter. Whichever
your plight, continue to preach the Word. Let me use our ongoing example to make a point. If the patient says that she cannot stand the sight, taste or smell of food "at this point" in her sickness, does it mean that all food is bad or not needed. Heavens no! Without food, we die. There are not many living creatures on this earth that can go without food or water and not die. Even the plants will die without the proper nutrition. So, just because they cannot hold the food down does not mean, they do not need the food. It is the same with the spiritual. There are truly those who have been bewitched, believe another doctrine and have been turned over to a reprobate and corrupt mind. There are also those who "at this time," simply cannot hear the true Word of God and will not endure sound doctrine. This does not mean that you do not keep preaching the Word of God. You should not alter the Word of God. This does not mean that you must be wrong and it surely does not mean that God is not alive, on the throne and watching and waiting patiently. No matter how much they are convicted about their "current situation" or the realization that there is no God or any other lie that people fool themselves to believe about God. You should not hop on the popular bandwagon, because this denomination has been infected, or this pastor has been infected, your friend or your leader has been infected. Yes, infected. The body of Christ is sick and is full of infections and some parts of the body are being affected because they are attached and some parts of the body are mimicking what the other parts are doing, because it looks normal and the body
temperature has made a shift. It is no longer stable and cannot endure what was once normal, however instead of seeing the sickness, we take this as a changing of the times. One song that I like, talks about a father who has lost his son to drugs. The father was trying to reason with the son, but figured the son would say one of two things: 1) I'm just not the same or 2) hear his father out. What the father knew was that the boy was sick and on drugs, so it wasn't that he was not the same boy. He was the same boy hooked on drugs. Now, I have known and lived with family members who were hooked on drugs and what I realized a long time ago in my youth, was that 1) there was a sense of hopelessness in their ability to control their actions and 2) though they may want to change their behavior, because they are hurting their love ones - it can be the most difficult thing to do as your body craves something that is wreaking havoc in their life. It was something that had a temporary pleasure, but reaped drastic consequences including the isolation of their family. One of my family members, was put in rehab numerous times, but he later said that he went to rehab on his own when the family would not let him in the house for Thanksgiving dinner. For him, this was him coming to himself, like the prodigal son. However, his mother always viewed him as her son and she always treated him as if he never changed, because that is what she held onto. However, there came a point, even though he was sick, his recovery was beyond the scope of what his family could offer him. He was sick, not the family. It was affecting the family tremendously, but the issue was that he was sick.
Have you ever been addicted to anything? Cookies, coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, exercise, drugs, food or even the television. These are very physical things in which the substance causes a surge in levels of a brain chemical called dopamine, which results in feelings of pleasure . The brain remembers this pleasure and wants it repeated. Just as food is linked to survival in day-to-day living, these substances begin to take on the same significance for the addict. The need to obtain and take or consume the substance becomes more important than any other need, including truly vital behaviors like eating. The addict no longer seeks the drug for pleasure, but for relieving stress.
Eventually, the drive to seek and use the drug is all that matters, despite devastating consequences. Finally, control and choice and everything that once held value in a person's life, such as family, job and community, are lost to the disease of addiction." 
It is a disease that has taken over and in control, causing a once sane person to do the most unthinkable acts. This is a direct correlation of the body of Christ. The times did not change, only the situation. Paul tells Timothy in II Timothy 3:1-11 to take heed to his words. But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of
pleasure rather than lovers of Godâ€”having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. Let's stop here. That's a serious statement. Have nothing to do with them. Really? But that's my family. That is my Pastor. That is my minister? Really? I have been at this church since I was a kid, my dad attended the church, my dad's father attended this church and so did his father. So, are you prepared to go to hell and live an ungodly life because of tradition? Wait, just because they believe it, doesn't mean that I have to believe it. I just go to the church. So, let us see what Paul says to that again. â€œHave nothing to do with such people.â€? Right, but I work with them or live with them. Gotcha. Now I am not saying that we will need to operate in a bubble, be around, and only purchase goods from godly people. We may starve, let's be honest. I am not saying that at all, however there is a level of intimacy that should be had with such people that Paul speaks of in II Timothy 3. That is what you have to do, but what you do not have to do is listen to their reasons, excuses or debates about why they do what they do. You do not have to attend their church, you do not have to be in an intimate relationship where you are baring your heart and soul, putting you in a vulnerable position to be infected. What you do not have to do is bear open wounds that could become contaminated by their philosophies, opinions and worldly outlook towards life.
The book of Psalms contains 150 chapters, but the very first verse in the very first chapter reads: Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. (Psalm 1:1) Why does Psalms, the biblical book full of songs about love, vindication, the innermost being, discuss - first things first watch who you are around, who you receive advice from, who you choose to share intimately with. This is key, because they will impart into your life whether you want them to or not. One Pastor told me that he would play ball with a group of young guys to keep in shape, but he found himself using their language. Cursing and all, when in fact he was supposed to be a light, his light was actually being put out. I am positive, his original goal was to get in shape and share the gospel through his life, words and deeds. However, that was not quite how it worked with him and David starts off - first and foremost with Psalm 1:1. Blessed is the man who knows who to chill with. In II Timothy 3: 5, Paul is very clear about how people will act. They will act godly, having a form, but denying the power. For a long time, I used to be stuck on the part where people act phony, however, God revealed to me the second part of this scripture. The fact that they are acting godly, means they are rejecting the power that comes with being godly. Meaning that godly people have power, but ungodly people do not and acting like you are godly, when you aren't is actually denying the power. It is in fact stating, that you have access
to the power, but you deny it, by not being the very thing that you are acting. Crazy? Right? If you are going to go through the trouble of acting the part, why not be the part and get the benefits? So, how much power are they missing out on or denying? How much power are they missing out on, because they would rather live a lie than be the truth? Why would someone have access to something so powerful, but deny the free gift? An addiction, is an infection of the body, which affects the mind, spirit and soul of a person. This is the same with Christ. The infections affect every area, the actions, the spirit of the church and the impact it should have on the non-believers. There is no thirst or hunger for the Word of God and a 12step program will not get the church back on track. Inspirational messages that have you jumping out of your seat, shaking your head in agreement or simply showing the preacher that you are not sleep will not help this situation. Reading the latest book, manual, or guide will not alleviate this situation. Just like an addict needs a divine intervention, so does the church. The church needs the unadulterated Word of God. There is no hunger or thirst for the Word, because the Word is not in them. Again, John 1:1 says, â€œIn the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God.â€? If there is no Word, there is no God. There is no craving for God or His Word, because neither is in the system. An addict craves for what has taken over in their bodies. What is the body of Christ craving for these days? Political correctness,
money, power, respect, self, pride, worldly gain? When something has taken root in your life, it will manifest. It is on display and it is in you no matter what you do, unless it is dug out or becomes infected and dies. When the Word of God takes root, it will thirst for more and thirst for the things that continue to keep it growing. What does have root in you, if it's not the Word of God. What has a foothold in your life? What has taken root in the church? I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice. (John 10:1-5) The Shepherd is always representative of Christ. Sheep are representative of God's children. This passage tells us that the Shepherd communicates with His children. We are called by name and we can listen to our Shepherd's voice. There is another comforting aspect to this relationship. The Shepherd goes before the sheep to prepare the way. Jesus has already
gone before us today to prepare our way. We just need to follow His voice and His voice only. We should be in-line with the Shepherd, because He is the good Shepherd and will not steer us wrong. Never have I seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging bread. (Psalm 37:25) Even when He is correcting or rebuking us, He is not steering us wrong, but trying to teach us what is right and wrong for our own health. Sheep may veer to the left and sometimes a quick whip will get them back in line so that the sheep does not leave the flock and fall into the hands of a patiently waiting wolf, who preys on lonely sheep. A wolf is not as proned to attack a herd of sheep whose shepherd is attentive. The other option is to have a wolf in sheep's clothing attacking the sheep from the inside.
10 Diagnosis The doctor looked at the patient sitting on the edge of the bed in pain and discomfort. The patient really was confused about where all this was coming from, but began to tell the doctor about the last few days, including what she ate, where she had been and who she was in contact with. The doctor knew that he could treat each symptom with a different form of medication. However, he also knew that this would not eliminate the root cause of the infection. Treating the symptom only alleviates the symptom temporarily, but leaves the root cause of the problem intact in order for it to wreak havoc in the body.
• • • • • •
Stomach Pains Nausea Weakness Diarrhea Chills Loss of Appetite
There is a cure for each individual symptom and even in the
writing of this book I was questioned about why there were no solutions. That is what is wrong with our thinking in this microwave culture. We will fix the leak, so we do not have to fix the plumbing. We put band aids on things that need surgery. We do not like dealing with the real problem, so we deal with the symptoms. The real problem is too deep and will require more of our time, a change in plans, we may have to give up something, or let some things or people go, because the root of the problem will never go away, unless you dig it out and cut off each and every stem. This is the same with devils, demons and the sin in our lives, our churches and our homes. Hebrews 12:1 says ... â€œlay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...â€? Let us see how this played out with Joshua in the Old Testament. Chapter seven of the book of Joshua, the leader of the Israelites, starts off with them losing a battle. Previously, they had been extremely victorious in battle, because the Lord was with them. However, this one time they lost the battle and Joshua, their leader, was so upset, he ripped his clothes and begin to question why God allowed this to happen. God answered Joshua with, "Get up. There is sin in the camp!" And when there is sin in the camp, you will not be victorious, you will not overcome the enemy of your spirit or your flesh. God said, I will continue to not be with you, until you destroy the thing that has defiled and infected you!
God gave a specific plan on what needed to take place: Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There are devoted things among you, Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them. ‘In the morning, present yourselves tribe by tribe. The tribe the Lord chooses shall come forward clan by clan; the clan the Lord chooses shall come forward family by family; and the family the Lord chooses shall come forward man by man. Whoever is caught with the devoted things shall be destroyed by fire, along with all that belongs to him. He has violated the covenant of the Lord and has done an outrageous thing in Israel!’ (Joshua 7: 13-15) Joshua did exactly what the Lord said and called them tribe by tribe, family by family and person by person, until he came across Achan. He then told Achan to give "Glory to God". Why would Joshua lead this intervention with an endearing term "My son," some instructions, "Give glory to God" and then a demand "Tell me what you did?" I thought this was interesting, because it reminded me of how I chastise my students who I work with when they are in trouble and I know what they did, but want them to come clean as a lesson in taking ownership. I usually start off with, I know you are a good student, or want to be a good student. I will then follow by providing
their good or bad track record, bring up their parents, people they do not want to disappoint and then end with now tell me what happened, because I cannot help you if I do not know the full truth. Ninety-five percent of the time, the students will tell all and provide some more details. I usually take into consideration the following things when allotting punishment: the impact it has on the teacher, the other students, the school culture and the student. However, the consequences may not be favorable for either party. If the action is severe enough, where a life could have been threatened, then expulsion is recommended. This action affects the entire school community, culture, and the safety of teachers and students. I also recommend expulsion, because I have a firm belief that the student needs to understand the severity of their actions and if they slide by with a warning or light tap on the wrist, that message will not be sent and the next time there could be casualties. This belief may be from my biblical background, but I have seen first hand what slaps on the wrist for major consequences do for some students. While this may not be favorable to the student or the student's family, my hope is that they now understand fully the weight of their actions. Let us get back to the story. Achan came right out with it and said, it was me, this is how I did it and this is where it is. Joshua was thorough, investigated the matter and recovered the stolen goods.
I can imagine Joshua does what I have done numerous times to all my students whom I love and cherish, but have to hold them accountable for their actions. I can see him now, shaking his head, taking them and all of their stuff to the office and saying, I love you, but you need to understand - this cannot be tolerated. Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold bar, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. Joshua said, â€œWhy have you brought this trouble on us? The Lord will bring trouble on you today.â€? Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. (Joshua 7:24-26) Joshua and the entire tribe stoned and set fire to Achan, his family, his goods, the animals and even his tent. There would be no rock unturned when it came to getting rid of the sin in the camp of Israel. This seems harsh, killing people. That is how they dealt with their issues then. So the big questions now, is how are we dealing with these issues now in the body of Christ? There is also another example in the Bible, that demonstrates how Jesus dealt with the deeper issues in the church. Before we go there, let's recap the symptoms and their effects in the body of Christ.
SYMPTOMS Manifested in the Physical Body Abdominal Pain Sharp pains in the abdomen; Hunched over unable to stand Nausea Stomach is not settled; food is close to regurgitating Weakness/Fatigue Decrease in strength; Unable to stand; moving slowly; Or not at all Diarrhea Frequent and watery bowels; digestive system not working properly to break down food; dehydration Chills Cold feeling when actually hot, body temperature core is unstable Loss of Appetite No desire to consume food, despite lack of food
Jesus addressed seven different churches, located in different places and had different issues or obstacles that were in their way. He addressed them, because He needed to provide feedback. It is very similar to the workforce today, bosses need to provide employees with feedback, evaluations and other forms of directions, because letting one run loose with no guidance and consistent feedback will result in disaster for the employee and the employer. He addressed the churches according to where they stood. He did not send a generic memo to all of them, rebuking everybody for what one church was doing, He addressed them individually. This is noted, because some leaders do not like confrontation and will make general announcements or hide behind the pulpit to address individual behavior. It is like having a cut on your leg, but applying band aids to both legs, arms, feet, hands, and head to not offend the leg. Jesus did not do that, He addressed them individually and spoke directly to their situation. How would we like it if God gave us generic messages? We would be confused. Brother Snickers is suffering with an illness and Sister Peanut is dealing with an abusive husband. The message that God gives to both of them, is â€œBy his stripes, I am healed.â€? Brother Snickers is revived; he can believe God for his healing. Sister Peanut leaves thinking only God knows what. No matter how many times, he hits her, she will be healed. His abuse will not be unto death. Jesus was beat, so she can handle a little beating. He does not mean it; he is just going through a rough patch. She says thank you Jesus and walks away to continue to be abused with no intervention.
Some people may think this analogy is ridiculous, but I promise you, it happens DAILY. Some of you, if you will admit, have been in similar situations. I have heard preachers say, if the shoe fits wear it. However, every size eight is not for me, not my style, or my preference. If it is my shoe, then it is my shoe, but every size eight is not my shoe. Back to the seven churches. The Geneva Study Bible, highlights that every one of the seven passages has three principal parts: an introduction, instructions, and a conclusion . The churches included Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Now, we will examine each of these, compare symptoms and Jesusâ€™ resolution for the churches. Church of Ephesus: I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. (Revelation 2: 2-6) You might be thinking, but this is not about sickness, It starts
off good. That is correct, in most churches, the original establishment that it was founded on still manifests itself. They probably have Bible study, prayer nights and give to the mission field. As I stated before, these are all good. However, what needs to be addressed is not the surface level items, but what is underneath. Jesus starts in verse two, by stating, (I know thy works.) This means He has an intimate knowledge of what is actually going on underneath and on the surface level of the Ephesian church. He acknowledges their hard work, perseverance, steadfastness and discernment. These are all good things, because they are not displaying any of the symptoms, such as nausea, diarrhea, chills or abdominal pain. One of the symptoms that the Ephesus church did display was weakness (concerned about works, doctrine, not souls). They are not dealing with the deeper issues, they are persevering, but seemed to neglect the love of God. Did they get caught up in the business of ministry and lose sight of the purpose of ministry? Jesus says to them, He is holding it against them, that they have forsaken their first love. He asks them to take a look at themselves. Remember in 1 Corinthians 11:28, Paul tells them to examine themselves because they have been doing it wrong. Jesus tells them to â€œrepentâ€? and do what they first did or He would come and remove their lampstand. This is interpreted to mean, He would come as judge and jury, the church would cease to exist, and the light that it provided for the Ephesus city would cease as well .
Wow, this is a serious consequence. They are doing so many things the right way: Working hard, calling a duck a duck, and not tolerating wicked people, but Jesus is saying if you have not put Me first I will take you out. “While doctrinal purity is important to the Christian faith, it can unintentionally lead to witch hunting and an inquisitorial spirit.”  We can defend the faith only if we first remember to defend love for one another (John 13:34). Church of Smyrna: I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. (Revelation 2:9-10) This is the only church, where Jesus starts off by saying, “I know your affliction.” He then goes on to encourage them, that they are wealthy spiritually, which is a great compliment coming from Jesus. This church represents the church that relies on the Lord for their finances, the one that has not lost sight of what is important. Jesus also lets them know that He knows about their troubles and encourages them to not be afraid. He prophesies to them, that they will suffer for righteousness sake, be put in prison and will endure persecution for a set time. In the midst of all
of this, He tells them to be faithful, like He was to the point of death. If they do this, He will reward them. The Church of Smyrna had no glaring issues according to Jesus address to them. They did not receive a negative report, but one that encouraged and commended them for their diligence thus far. This is the type of report that the body of Christ should be receiving from the Lord. This is the type of report our churches should be receiving from the Lord. This is the type of report we, as individuals, should be receiving from the Lord. Church in Pergamum: I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives. Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. (Revelation 2:13-16) Five churches were initially addressed by Jesus with, “I know your deeds.” The Church of Pergamum is addressed with “I know where you live.” This is significant, because the church
was located in a city that had been given over to idolatry. There were other cities that were bad, but the fact that Jesus said, “Satan lives there,” is something to be noted. Jesus goes on to commend the church, for remaining true and faithful in the midst of wickedness. He then starts to name names. Wow! It would be awesome for Jesus to call you by name and say you are His faithful witness. That is ownership, son ship, and it confirms that Antipas was a part of His family. Theologians have different theories on who Antipas actually was, but some think he was the angel or minister of the church at one point and others say, he was just a martyr. We can assume, the angel of the church in Pergamum at that time, knew who he was nevertheless. Like the other churches, except Smyrna and Philadelphia, Jesus goes on to say, that He has something against them. John McArthur describes the church at Pergamum as the one who married the world . Verse 14 says, “There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam.” Here we go again – it is not the whole church, but there are some among you. So why did Jesus address the angel of the church for a few people? As stated in earlier chapters, God puts a shepherd or Angel of the House over His church and they are held accountable for everybody and everything that takes place in that church on their watch. Revelation’s use of the Balaam typology underscores the book’s reliance on Old Testament symbols. Balaam’s story is found in Numbers 22-24. He was a prophet who manipulated Israel into falling under God’s curse. Balaam’s motive was
personal gain (2 Peter 2:15; Jude 6). He had been offered riches and power by Balak, a gentile king, to destroy God’s people, Israel . Balaam causes the Israelites to go against God’s law, intermingle sexually with the Moabites women, practice sexual immorality at the festivals, and worship idols. There were people in the church who may have not been teaching this doctrine exactly, but persuaded the people to hold on to things that were not of God. The Pergamum church was swayed by society and not God. MacArthur describes the church as compromising—never taking a true stand; lowering its standards to cater to compromising people; and more concerned with the fashions of the world than with the things of God . This type of church has the following symptoms: weakness (diminished influence on the world), abdominal pains (compromised beliefs), nausea (principles have been negotiated), diarrhea (loss of the main component, rapid increase in spiritual bastards), chills (succumbing to politics and the world than Christ), and loss of appetite (tolerant or immune of the slanderers and imitators of godlessness). Jesus says to this sick church, “Repent or otherwise, I will come and fight against you with the sword of my mouth.” Whew! Who wants that? Who is Jesus going to fight against? Repent means to turn away and discontinue in the way you are going. Jesus is coming to fight against you with the sword of His mouth, which some theologians equate with the Word of God in this context. In Revelation 2:12, Jesus
describes himself as, â€œhim who has the sharp, double-edged sword.â€? This sword is described as having sharp edges on both sides, meaning it can cut in both directions but can also be interpreted as a different kind of blade on both sides. One is for pruning and the other is for cutting. Jesus is coming to fight against declaring war not on the church, but on the people who he has identified that are against him. As stated in chapter three, when God comes to expose and reveal the evil within the church, it is public knowledge and it sends the church in a crouched position. Why would God do this? You might ask, is it not God who is doing this, it is us. God is just and He has also made it very plain in Matthew 5:29 - if your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell?â€? The body being sick is a clear indication that something is wrong internally and it needs to be fixed. Jesus told the Pergamum church to Repent! Church of Thyatira I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her
on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. (Revelation 2:19-23) Here we find a church that seems to be making progress. Jesus starts by commending them and He lets them know that they are doing more than they did before, so they are in fact progressing. He then goes on to tell them what He has against them. “They tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet, teaches and misleads His servants.” He even goes on to say, how He has given her chances and how He will deal with her! The part that I would like to note again, is that Jesus says, “Then all the churches will know that I am He who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” Honestly, this sentence can conclude the chapter and the book. As I have stated before, we do not need to judge God’s leaders, because He will in fact do just that. He has been doing it and He will continue to do it. One scripture that kept me through many of hard times is Galatians 6:7: Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. All the church in Thyatira did was “tolerate.” This should serve as a lesson for all of us who “tolerate.” We do not engage, we do not indulge, but we tolerate spiritual wickedness, perversion of the Word, and people who are
wolves in sheepâ€™s clothing, teaching in our churches, ministering over the people of God, laying hands on people. These things the body of Christ should not tolerate, because when we do, it opens up the door for sin to infiltrate the camp. MacArthur notes that sin and false doctrine always appear together. Whenever a false doctrine enters into a church, sin follows. Where there is a tolerance for false doctrine, theological liberalism begins to creep in and the gospel is watered down. That is how Satan brings about sin . Jesus says, He will repay each of us according to our deeds and this includes the church, body or person who tolerates the sanctioning of sin in the House of God. This church had the symptoms of abdominal pains (leadership with wrong motives), diarrhea (rapid increases in spiritual bastards), and loss of appetite (tolerant or immune of the slanderers and imitators of godlessness.) He tells the people who have not succumbed to false teachers to â€œhold on to what you have until He comes.â€? Church in Sardis: I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. (Revelation 3:1-3)
Jesus goes right in to tell the church they are frauds. This is a church that is known for being great, prosperous, growing and doing the work of the Lord. However, Jesus the one who is able to search the heart and motives of every man, woman, child and church - He calls them out. What defines a successful church? The building, the number of members, how many services there are, the number of ministries, new converts, ministers, or mission trips? Do any of these things have to do with what Jesus thought was a great church? The church in Sardis is told to remember what they first heard and received. Jesus tells them to hold on tight and â€œRepent.â€? This seems to be a common theme - REPENT! Hold fast to what you are doing right, but repent of those things that you are not doing right or are tolerating. This church is known for its greatness, but Jesus is saying wake up, because if you donâ€™t, I am coming when you least expect it and unannounced. This church strikes me as one with resources, both material and personal. They can make an ugly thing look pretty, a scandal look like an attack and with enough music, flashing lights, and emotional people make an uncircumcised Philistine look anointed. This church displays the following symptoms: abdominal pains (fallen leadership/wrong motives), nausea (principles have been negotiated), weakness (concerned about works), diarrhea (Word not being properly digested), chills (unstableness in the church), loss of appetite (no desire for the unadulterated Word of God). Repent! Church in Philadelphia I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have
little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. (Revelations 3:8-11) The church of Philadelphia received almost a similar report to Smyrna. Jesus does not have anything against the church, but He does note that they have little strength, which could mean they did not have a lot of people in the church had little influence in their community, or little support to do what was needed. In spite of this, they kept God’s Word and did not deny His name, so they would receive authority and opportunities with the “open door.” To Smyrna the promise was that “the synagogue of Satan” should not prevail against the faithful in her: to Philadelphia, that she should even win over some of “the synagogue of Satan” to fall on their faces and confess God is in her of a truth . Isn’t that a great testimony! All those who opposed your church’s steadfastness, diligence, perseverance, fortitude will have to come back and bow down to acknowledge that God was on your side. God is steadily opening doors for you, making ways out of no way, and providing all your needs in spite of your deficits. That is a great church, not perfect,
but headed in the right direction. Church in Laodicea I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. (Revelation 3:15-18) Just like the Church in Sardis, Jesus starts off with a bad report. You are neither hot nor cold and He would rather you just simply pick one. That is a serious statement. Most people want you on their side, but Jesus is saying you are misleading the people. You are neither, and while I wish that all would come to know God in His fullness, I need you to pick a side, because this is detrimental. MacArthur notes that the Laodicean church isn’t a church at all; it’s a counterfeit . In my opinion, the Laodiceans were the most dangerous of all the churches, because they were spiritually blind. They did not think anything was wrong with them and they were complacent in their current situation. Not really being of a sound mind, but settled in confusion, obscurity, and doubt, Jesus calls them wretched and pitiful. These are strong words to describe a church or any group of people. This church showed the following symptoms: abdominal pains (compromised beliefs), nausea (Word of God is not settled), weakness (church diminished influence on the world), diarrhea
(loss of the main component), chills (unstableness in the church), loss of appetite (no desire for the unadulterated Word of God). While this rebuke to the church is strong and forceful, the fact that Jesus is actually taking the time to correct them, demonstrates that he loves them. Loving parents correct and rebuke their children; they do not let them continue to live in error. Jesus is giving them a chance, just like He is giving us a chance. If Jesus had to speak to His church today, I believe He would say the following: To the angel of the church in the Earth write: These are the words of the Alpha and the Omega, the Risen Savior, Creator and Ruler of the Heavens and the Earth. I know your deeds, hard work, perseverance, and service. You have endured, but you will be persecuted for my sake. I will continue to be your strong tower, deliverer, healer and redeemer, if you continue to put me first and stand up for righteousness. I know where you live and whom you are in the midst. Yet, I have a few things against you: You tolerate Jezebel, Balaam and all the false preachers and teachers that preach a false doctrine and lead My people astray. They are lovers of themselves and I will have nothing to do with them. You have forsaken your first love. There are some among you who have turned to idolatry, fornication, lust, alcohol, drugs,
homosexuality, money, pride, wealth, spiritualism and other vices.
• • • • •
Wake up! Repent! Do the things you first did! Be faithful! Hold on!
I am coming to you, because this is your chance to make a change. I stand at the door and knock! Here I am! I sit on My throne, victorious and with all power in My hands, sitting next to My Father who searches the hearts of men. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
Remain faithful and will receive the victor's crown Repent; the Lord will fight against you.
Repent; Intense suffering Wake up Remain faithful & Hold on/ Will be kept from the hour of trial/Will keep their crown
Spiritually rich, afflicted, suffered persecution
Remained true to God's name, did not renounce the faith
Love, faith, service, perseverance, and doing more than they did at first
Kept God's Word, did not deny His name, Will make enemies acknowledge their wrong; kept God's commandment, endured patiently
Be earnest and repent/Spit you out
Repent, do your first works, removal of the lamp stand
Hard work, perseverance, intolerant of wickedness, endured hardships
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