DEVOTIONAL – DEC 4
ABOUT SUPPORTING PREACHERS
Leslie M. John
DO NOT ENCOURAGE FALSE PREACHERS
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1)
“But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” (Galatians 2:14)
Apostle Paul rebuked Apostle Peter on a reason and that was surely a very stiff and open rebuke. It was not a private rebuke or admonition but a strong reproof of what Peter did. Did Peter deserve rebuke? According to the prevailing situation the rebuke was appropriate. Man is saved by grace through faith in Jesus and not by works or Mosaic Law. Paul surely taught the right doctrine about salvation. But did Peter and Paul preach different gospels? No. If Peter preached different Gospel he could be called accursed.
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8).
Gospel is good news and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news of Jesus Christ. Gospel preached should speak about the grace of God and the salvation by grace through faith. The message should stress on the efficacy of the blood of Jesus Christ and the finished works of Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. If the message does not speak about grace, and lays condition that law and grace as the means to receive salvation then that is “another gospel”.
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed”. (Galatians 1:8)
In the days when John preached Gospel of Jesus Christ there were many preachers, who believed that Lord Jesus came into this world in flesh and they preached so. There were also many preachers who did not believe that Lord Jesus came into this world in flesh and they preached so. John bore witness of Lord Jesus Christ’s deity. He also affirmed that Lord Jesus was incarnate God Himself.
After dealing with the subject of not encouraging those preachers who do not believe that Lord Jesus came in flesh and writing not to bid them God speed, lest it would be counted as partaking in their ministry, John now deals with the subject of encouraging those preachers who believe that the “Word was made flesh”. He meant to say that those who do not believe that Jesus was fully divine and fully human, when the Lord was on this earth, are false preachers; and those who believe that Lord Jesus was fully divine and fully human, when the Lord was on this earth, are the trust-worthy preaches, who belong to God.
ENCOURAGE TRUE PREACHERS
“Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellow-helpers to the truth” (3 John 1:7-8)
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1)
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14)
Bible emphasizes to encourage and support those itinerary preachers, who recognize that Lord Jesus Christ came in flesh. However, the scriptures prohibit supporting God’s ministry with the financial help from unbelievers.
The preachers are like armed soldiers who are on the war-front preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If they are called by God, who will supply their needs through their fellow-believers, to face the crowd and have direct dealing with them, they will win the battle for the Lord; however, if they are not called by God, then they will not have enough resources and supplies for their needs, and they fail in their ministry.
“Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles” (3 John 1:7)
It should not be construed that God rewards the preachers more than any of children of God, who pray for them, or support them financially or with various resources.
In a parable Lord Jesus spoke as recorded in Matthew 20:1-16, He showed what equal wages are in the sight of the Lord. The wages paid to the last laborer, who joined work in the last hour to work in the Lord’s vineyard, were equal to the laborer who came for work in the first hour to work in the Lord’s vineyard. The Lord of the vineyard gave equal wages to everyone because according to His pleasure.
In man’s understanding it would seem injustice because the laborer, who worked whole day received same amount of money as wages as that of the laborer who came in the last hour. In the sight of the Lord it was not injustice because it was His vineyard, and He gave to everyone what He promised; none less and none more. He promised to each laborer wages according to His will, and He gave each one of them that which He promised to each.
David’s dealing with his army in a situation, as recorded in 1 Samuel 30:21-25, forms a great example for us to deal with itinerary preachers and evangelists. David needed great wisdom to pacify the army that fought the battle and those who stayed back looking after their baggage or supported them.
In the case cited all the wicked men and men of Belial of the six hundred men, who fought the battle for David, said to him that those two hundred men, who stayed back, should not be given the spoils of the enemy, whom they defeated.
However, David said to them not to do so; but to honor God, who delivered their enemy into their hands, and he made a statute and an ordinance on that day that share of the one who goes down into battle shall be same as that tarries by the stuff: and they shall share the blessings alike.
“But David said, ‘You shall not do so, my brothers, with what the LORD has given us. He has preserved us and given into our hand the band that came against us. Who would listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage. They shall share alike.’ And he made it a statute and a rule for Israel from that day forward to this day” (1 Samuel 30:23-25 ESV)