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WE CALL anyone we see wearing clericals, praying and preaching in the name of the Lord, a man of God. We may not be wrong because some servants of Christ wear clericals, and all preach and teach from the Book of books, the Bible. But a man or woman may be identified with the aforementioned and yet be an enemy of Christ.
As Christians, we must study the Word of God so we can be familiar with the traits of both genuine men of God and the religious thugs, predators and charlatans, who the Bible calls “false brethren” in our midst. Yes, we must know them by their works.
Not all apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors/bishops and teachers who minister in the name of God are of God. Many are of the devil, perpetrating wickedness and lawlessness against the will of God. Instead of being a source of eternal blessing to people, such ministers employ dubious methods to exploit them.
In his second letter to the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul makes it clear that not everyone who goes about preaching is a genuine servant of God. Paul describes two categories of ministers who preach the Word of God:
“For we are not, like so many, PEDDLERS OF GOD’S WORD, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ” (2 Cor. 2: 17).
From this text, Paul, speaking by the authority of the Holy Spirit said there were ministers who peddled the Word of God in his day. Enemies arose against Christ from the very day He was born over two millennia ago.
Interestingly, the world has not changed that much in many respects. In our day too, enemies of Christ abound. There are ministers who are peddling the Word of God. Paul says that those who peddle the Word are many. What a danger Christians face if we fail to test all spirits and discern the true men of God from those who are false!
The King James Versions of the Bible uses the word, “corrupt” for “peddle”. Other translations use the word “huckster”. This means there are pastors who peddle, corrupt or huckster the Word of God. The words simply mean to sell, market God’s message for profit or to commercialise God’s Word.
So, to peddle the Word of God is to sell the Word of God. What is the purpose of selling? Is it not to make money or profit? Once wicked men sell the Word of God, they corrupt it by distorting its truth thereby losing its power. Nothing destroys a Christian’s spiritual life than when he is denied the truth of the gospel of Christ.
We live in an era where the main reason many apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers move from one church to another to preach or minister is to make money. I mean, they preach for the purpose of making money to enrich themselves. Money-making is their first consideration for honouring invitations extended to them. This means, mammon (money) is their god.
Interestingly, to make the selling of their messages easy, attractive and convincing, these men of God often quote a lot of Old Testament scriptures where interesting prosperity messages are found and they spice them with stories they have made. This may be referred to as the preaching of humanism. The apostle Peter said these greedy ministers exploit people with fabricated stories (2 Peter 2: 3).
In their ministrations, they prophesy over people who even despise the Lord, people who live in sin, people who have not sincerely given their lives to Christ that, “It shall be well with you”; “You will travel abroad this year; “you will count dollars in the next few months”, and the people respond with a thunderous, “Amen!”
As these pastors make these so-called prophetic pronouncements, they tell the people to sow money to tap blessings from them. In the process, Christ is never preached. I mean, the price Christ Jesus paid on the cross is never spoken of. I mean, Christ’s free healing, deliverance, redemption and the other blessings are not preached.
No wonder the true manifested presence and power of God is absent in most churches these days. These ministers are what the apostle Paul called peddlers of the Word of God. They preach and teach for the main purpose of enriching themselves.
Am I saying money is evil? Not at all! How can money be evil when God Himself gives His children power to get wealth? How can money be evil when the Church needs huge sums of money to finance the propagation of the gospel of Jesus Christ? It is the love of money that is evil. It is the process or method by which these ministers raise funds that is evil. It is their motive that is evil.
But glory be to God that there are also true ministers of Christ. They are not like those identified above. Paul says the true men of God are men and women of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God they speak in Christ. That is, they preach the Good News to restore hope to the lost free of charge.
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