The Word

[Part Two]


Continuing with the sermon ‘Spiritual High Treason’, I want to recap from part one of this two-part message.

‘The Rhema Bible Church [South Africa], ‘Be Free Conference’, commenced with a dazzling opening ceremony on 28th February 2006. More than 3000 delegates watched as trapeze artists flew across the stage amidst showers of fire, while energetic dancers aptly ‘broke free’ from their bondage. All of this took place while huge media screens portrayed images of wild animals in nature running free to a cacophony of sound and music. The stage was lit with spectacular multi-coloured lighting reflecting on a white background. The Rhema-band all dressed in white, led the delegates into an anointed time of praise and worship, which got the crowd up off their feet and dancing in celebration. ‘Timosho Masha’, Top Billing’s television presenter, took to the platform to welcome and entertain the crowd before the first guest speaker ministered to the audience.’

That was the introduction to part one of said sermon, and I continued:
‘What I have just described to you, would give one the impression of an opening act, at a glitzy ‘Las Vegas’ style stage show. Except for the mention of `an anointed time of praise and worship` and `before the first guest speaker would minister`, that would be the assumption. Let me explain some more! The young man, `Timisho Masha` who took to the stage to welcome and entertain the crowd, is a presenter of a secular broadcasting-station [TV] programme called Top Billing. [Please don’t misunderstand; I have no problem with this young man as such]. My concern is that he and several other ‘so-called celebrities’ who claim to be `born again`, working in secular television are the role-models for the younger generation who watch them on television. Yet most of the time one does not see any indication of a witness for Jesus Christ, who they claim to be followers of.

That said, I would like to comment on the `Las Vegas` style opening at the `Be Free Conference`. The `church` has now for the last decade or so decided it needs to change its approach in attracting more members, especially the younger generation. And the way that the church would attract them, would be to change the `style of music`. I was a member of a Pentecostal-assembly about a decade ago. This particular assembly was celebrating its 30th anniversary. We had invited a special guest speaker who was a anointed man of God. We also invited a gospel band to play. This particular band when they started out a few years earlier was a very blessed group of singers and musicians. But somewhere some how they had succumbed [which was obvious that Sunday evening] to the new `style of music`. The songs they performed that evening was no-where near bringing any glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. It was watered down and really an embarrassment to the assembly, as the special speaker at that time was the president of one of the largest Pentecostal-churches in South Africa.

Here in South Africa, so called groups that call themselves gospel-bands, but are no-where near playing or singing anything that would bring glory to our Lord and Saviour. These so-called gospel-bands perform on stage as if they are entertaining a crowd at a packed football stadium or a big auditorium. You know the big rock bands when they appear on stage and how they perform like lunatics, screaming, jumping, colour lights flashing and smoke flowing across the stage.

The colour lights are flashing, smoke billowing across the stage, the musicians is dressed just like the secular rock-bands, they scream, and jump, and run across the stage. The songs the sing, have no meaning or are understandable. And the name of Jesus or any indication of some spiritual message is nowhere to be heard. The promoters of religious-rock bands argue that this is the music of this generation, it is a tool for winning the young people to Christ., it is the message of the young, all music is the same, it’s the lyrics that count, music is like a platter: it’s what you put on it that matters, God gave rock and roll to the world, if we don’t have rock and roll young people won’t come to our churches. Can you see the deceiver [Lucifer, Satan, and devil] in this type of argument?

These past few years in South Africa has seen the emergence of this new type or style of music. What is disturbing is that some of these so-called gospel-bands or solo-singers who record gospel music give no indication as to their spiritual condition [if they have any]. One so-called secular singer by name of Steve Hofmeyer, who has fathered several illegitimate children, and who is vulgar when he appears on stage in concerts, has made it abundantly clear on his feelings toward God Almighty and the Christian faith in particular. Yet this same artist is a hero to many people. Last year he recorded a gospel-cd for Christmas. And what angers me is that our local gospel radio station promotes this c-d for him on their airwaves. Several other so-called soloist’s who sing secular music, yet profess to be born again, but live like the devil. And this is accepted by many as normal and acceptable. But the word of God spells it out clearly where the Righteous must not be found. [Psalms 1 tells us, `blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful [v1], but his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night [v2, KJV]. 2 Corinthians 6v17, tells the child of God to `come out from amongst them and be separate from the world`]. And not only his recordings but that of other so-called gospel bands, and what is more pathetic about this is that Christians go out and buy their music, there-by enriching these godless people.

This is one example that I’m using to show you how Satan has succeeded in pulling a mask over supposedly `born again Christians eyes. Not to get ahead of myself, I want to quickly return to the situation within the ‘church’. The Rhema Bible Church is just one example of what has taken place this past decade or so. The `Church of Jesus Christ` has exchanged the `Glory of the uncorruptible God` [Romans 1v23], for a lie. Several of the other big name mega-churches namely `His People Church`[Has been used for political reasons meetings], `Good Hope Christian Church`, `Lofdal Spirit Word Church`[this mega-church plays Elvis Presley performing his famous song Glory Glory Hallelujah on the big stage screen], to get the audience in the mood], have all taken this route. Has worldly-style entertainment replaced the anointing of the Holy Spirit to get the people in the mood?

That my dear friend is why these mega churches are so successful, because they have joined forces with the secular world and apply the same methods as big corporations in how to run the church. The church nowadays has become big businesses. This now goes under the guise of Christian Entertainment. A.W.Tozer once said that, `the church has for centuries, stood against worldly entertainment, recognizing it as a device for wasting time, a refuge from conscience, and a scheme to divert attention from accountability. Now, he added it seems the church has decided to embrace the god-Entertainment.`

Let me be blunt and upfront by saying that, ‘the Holy Spirit is not in the entertainment businesses. A few times on a Sunday evening, fleetingly, I have watched a programme called ‘Gospel Time’ and there is no or little indication of any kind by the host of the show, or the artists performing that bring any glory to the Lord Jesus. Maybe a lot of talent is evident. But it’s the same old story, colour lights flashing, smoke flowing across the stage, the artists appearing on the show and their back-up singer’s dance and jump around, and are dressed that leaves nothing to the imagination. But there is no sign of an anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Let me quote here the following, `One can search in vain throughout the New Testament for any type of approval [or suggestion] of what we refer to today as entertainment. It doesn’t exist. Any time entertainment is mentioned, it is in a negative sense`. In Exodus 32v6 [KJV] we read of Israel’s sin in constructing the golden calf, `and they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play [KJV]`. In verse 3+4 we read what the nation did before they offered up these offerings, `and so all the people took the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold at their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it a molten calf;` Remember this was God’s chosen people [Jews] who thought that they could bring the burnt offerings and peace offerings [which was their custom], and mix it with the worship of a golden calf. And God showed His displeasure at this by destroying 3000 men [v28].

As one reads through the Old Testament accounts of God’s people who dared to bring strange fire [worship and praise] before Him, God would destroy those individuals who dared to do this. I’m reminded of Leviticus 10, `of Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, who took either of them his censer and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord [v1]. These two sons of Aaron the priest were consecrated before the Lord to execute the ritual [worship] of burnt offerings and peace offerings to sacrifice before the Lord. But Nadab and Abihu brought strange fire before the Lord, `and there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord [v2]. Today the church is bringing strange fire before the Lord, in the form of the type of music, and worldly entertainment under the guise of ‘it attracts the younger generation`. I can only say, `thank God Almighty that we do not live under the old Levitical-law anymore, because a lot of deaths will occur`.

Let’s just stop over in the New Testament, as we read of the account in Acts 5, concerning Ananias and his wife Sapphira, who sold their land as a offering and sacrifice of praise and worship unto the Lord, but decided to keep back a portion of the price [v1+2]. Because of their attitude of bringing strange fire [lying and dishonesty] before the Lord, The Holy Spirit was very displeased, and the end result of their actions was instant death [v3-10]. Like I mentioned a moment ago, `thank God for His mercy and grace to us`.

That does not mean we that are under grace, purchased by Jesus on the Cross of Calvary through His death, does not mean we can continue in our transgressions and get away with it.

The Apostle Paul states in Romans 5, `for as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous[v19]`. Paul is saying that Jesus made it possible for us to receive God’s mercy and grace by accepting Him as Lord and Saviour.

He goes on to say, `but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. [v20]. Paul goes on by asking in Romans 6, `what shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid, how shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein [v1+2]? Let me be blunt!! The Apostle Paul makes it very clear for the child of God. We are no longer under law but under grace, but that does not give us the right to continue in sin and bring strange fire before a Holy God. Anyone who claims to be a born-again, Spirit-filled child of God who thinks they can live as they wish and bring strange fire before God, is living in a fools paradise. NO…NO…NO, child of God! We have been set free from our sin, and we are alive in Christ Jesus. We are no longer slaves to unrighteousness.

We do not bring strange fire before a Holy God, `because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us [Romans 5v5]. We no longer walk after the carnal [flesh] things which brings death; but we hunger and thirst and walk after the Spirit of God which brings life and peace [Romans 8v6 KJV]. Yes God will punish those that live like the world, who at the same time confess to be His children, for God will not be mocked.

Here are examples of what churches are promoting today. `Harvester International Ministries` promote the following; `Prophetic Worship and Dance Spring School, offering the following, Copyright, Slam Poetry, Spirit Rhythms, Acting Prophecy, Mime beats Crime, Apostolic expressions. Folks, no-where in my Bible do I find any of this type of ministry. Has these so-called workshops replaced the work and function in the life of a believer, in equipping the believer for service in the Kingdom of God? Another example is `Eden Ministries` who promote the `Worship Movement Workshops`, teaching candidates how to use flags in the ministry of worship. Once again, I don’t find any indication of this type of ministry in the Word of God. The last time I checked, the `Church of Jesus Christ` is the `New Testament Church` as spoken of all through the 27 Books of the New Testament, and no-where are we told by the writers of those books [or the Lord Himself for the matter], about using flags in the ministry of worship. What the scriptures do tell us in the New Testament is, `serve the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears` [Acts 20v19]. The Apostle Paul states it very clearly, `But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth` [John 4v23+24 KJV]. The apostle admonishes us in Ephesians 5, `to be true followers of God, as dear children [v1]; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us and hath given himself for us a sweet smelling savour [v2]. Continuing Paul says, `to be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit [v18], speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord [v19KJV].

See what the psalmist, David, says of praise and worship in chapter 145 `I will extol thee, my God, my King, and I will bless thy name for ever and ever [v1],`Everyday will I bless thee, and I will praise thy name for ever and ever [v2], Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable [v13], The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger, and of great mercy [v8], The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works [v9], Thy kingdom is an everlasting kindom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations [v13], my mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord; and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever [v21 KJV].

Psalm 148 declares all creation to exhort praise to the Lord, `Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights [v1], Praise ye him, all his angels; praise ye him all his hosts [v2], Praise ye him, sun and moon; praise him, all ye stars of light [v3], Praise him ye, heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens [v4]. Let them praise the Lord, for he commanded, and they were created [v5, KJV]. Psalm 149, declares Israel to exhort praise to the Lord. `Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints [v1], Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King [v2], let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp [v3]. For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation [v4].` Let me take a breather here and say that, the Jewish nation [Israel] has a culture of dancing before the Lord. It is in there blood, so to speak. Every time God gave them victory over their enemies the nation celebrated by bringing sacrifices and peace offerings before the Lord. They danced for joy before God for delivering them from the enemies [You can read about these all through the Old Testament]. They danced before God with tambourine, and timbrel and harp. The Jewish nation did not have the Holy Spirit with them as we do today, but the physical presence of Almighty God. We today of course have the Spirit of God dwelling within us, which is the same as having the physical Jesus with us, allowing us to worship God in spirit and in truth.

In 2 Samuel 6, we read that, David danced before the Lord with all his might [v14, KJV]. David of course is the one person we read of in the bible who understood the moving of the Holy Spirit like no other human being. Therefore he could dance with a passion before the Lord. But there is no indication that David used flags in his worship before the Lord. Look what Psalms 150 does tell us how and with what instruments we can praise God. `Praise ye the Lord, Praise God in the sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power [v1], Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness [v2], Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp [v3], Praise him with the timbrel and dance, praise him with stringed instrument and organs [v4], Praise him upon the cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals [v5], Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord, Praise ye the Lord [v6]. Once again there is no mention of waving flags, flashing colour lights, smoke strobes etc. That my dear friend is what is called `strange fire before the Lord.

This is `Spiritual High Treason` at its best. This is what the apostle spoke about when he said in Romans 1, that `they changed the Glory of the incorruptible God [v23], and who changed the Truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature [flesh] more than the Creator [v25]. Man tends to follow his own ways and thoughts thinking that they are doing right before God.

Folks, upon writing this sermon I have come to the conclusion that there will be a part three [3] to this message. There is so much more I believe that the Lord will have me say, concerning this subject. There-fore let me conclude part two [2] with the following verse. Jeremiah 6v16, [KJV], `Thus saith the Lord, stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls`.

Until next time, keep walking after the things of the Spirit.

William [Cook]



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