“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you.” – James 5:1

In Luke 16:13 Jesus stated an important spiritual principle: “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Because of that, Jesus exhorted,” Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:19–21).

Very few other things more clearly reveals the state of a person’s heart than his view of money and material possessions. Many who profess faith in Christ invalidate their claim to genuine saving faith through their materialistic lifestyles—a clear indication that they serve wealth, not God (Matt. 6:24).

James presents a test in chapter 5—that of how one views money. The first six verses of chapter 5 form a strong rebuke—the strongest in the entire epistle. James’s blistering, scathing denunciation condemns those who profess to worship God but in fact worship money. He calls on them to examine the true state of their hearts in light of how they feel about their wealth.

The Bible does not teach that possessing wealth is sinful in and of itself. In fact, everyone possesses wealth and material goods to one degree or another.

Moses reminded the Israelites poised to enter the promised land that “the Lord your God … is giving you power to make wealth” (Deut. 8:18), a truth confirmed by Proverbs 10:22: “It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it.” What is wrong is to misuse one’s wealth. “The love of money “wrote Paul in 1 Timothy 6:10,” is a root of all sorts of evil;” but he later wrote that it is God “who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy” (v. 17).

James, like Paul, cautions against the love of money that leads people to misuse the wealth with which God has blessed them for their own selfish, sinful ends.

James’s sharp rebuke of the wicked wealthy is in keeping with the tradition of the Old Testament prophets. Isaiah repeatedly denounced those rich people who misused their wealth or abused the poor. In chapter 3 he warned,” The Lord enters into judgment with the elders and princes of His people, ‘It is you who have devoured the vineyard; the plunder of the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing My people and grinding the face of the poor?’ declares the Lord God of hosts” (vv. 14–15; cf. 5:8–10). In Isaiah 10:1–4 the prophet gives his pronouncement of judgment on Israel’s wicked rich. In Amos 8:4–10 the prophet prophesied of doom on the wicked rich. Job (Job 24:2–4), Jeremiah (Jer. 5:27–29), Micah (Mic. 2:1–5), and Malachi (Mal. 3:5) also condemned the wicked rich.

James was speaking to those who would hear his letter read in the churches. He aimed his rebuke at people who were in some way associated with the church. He realized that some in the churches to which he wrote claimed to be Christians but were not. Though they may have outwardly professed faith in Christ, their focus on earthly treasure betrayed the falsity of that profession (Matt. 6:21; cf. 13:22; 19:21–22).

Sadly, many in the church today are accepted as Christians because they talk about Jesus and claim a superficial allegiance to Him. Yet an examination of their lifestyle reveals that they do not walk in obedience to His commandments. Their lust for money and possessions betrays their true allegiance (Matt. 6:24; cf. James 4:4; 1 John 2:15–17). Believers must be wary of falling into the same sins that characterize unbelievers.

James begins his denunciation with a forceful pronouncement of impending judgment. In light of the inescapable doom that is coming against the wicked wealthy, James warns, come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Weep and howl picture an intense outburst of despairing, violent, uncontrollable grief. The Old Testament prophets frequently described such wailing over the effects of sin (e.g., Isa. 13:6; 15:3; 16:7; 23:1; Jer. 48:20; Ezek. 21:12; Amos 8:3; Zech. 11:2; cf. Matt. 5:4).

The miseries which are coming upon them describes overwhelming hardship, trouble, suffering, or distress when they stand before the Lord in judgment. In Luke 6:24–25, Jesus warned them, ”Woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.” Later in Luke, Jesus told a shocking story of Lazarus and the rich man.

James notes four sins that precipitate the severe judgment pronounced on the wicked rich. They are condemned because their wealth was uselessly hoarded, unjustly gained, self-indulgently spent, and ruthlessly acquired.

“Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!” – James 5:2–3

Hoarding is the practice of collecting or accumulating something, like money and worldly riches and is one of the most widespread sins of our time. God entrusts believers with material goods so they may use them for His glory. Obviously, Christians are to provide for their families (1 Tim. 5:8). But beyond that, Christians’ resources are to be used to advance God’s kingdom (cf. 1 Chron. 29:3; Mark 12:42–44; Luke 6:38; 1 Cor. 16:23; 2 Cor. 8:2; 9:6–7). Specifically, believers are to use their wealth to win the lost (Luke 16:9), care for those in need (Gal. 2:10; 1 John 3:16–18), and support those in ministry (1 Cor. 9:4–14; Gal. 6:6). Those who name the name of Christ are not to amass a fortune that is uselessly stashed away without regard for God’s will (cf. Job 27:13–17; Ps. 39:6; Eccl. 5:10–11, 13).

Hoarding one’s possessions—whether food, clothing, or money—is foolish. All such earthly treasures are fleeting and transitory. ”Do not weary yourself to gain wealth,” cautioned Solomon. “Cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings like an eagle that flies toward the heavens” (Prov. 23:4–5).

Having exposed the sinful futility of hoarding wealth, James then described the judgment pronounced on the hoarders. Personifying the rust that depicts the futility of hoarding riches, James declared that it will be a witness for the prosecution against the wicked rich. In the judgment, their hoarded, rotted, moth-eaten, corroded treasures will give graphic testimony to the unregenerate state of their hearts. Their covetous, selfish, compassionless, earthbound approach to life will provoke their condemnation.

The last days encompass the period between Christ’s first and second comings (Acts 2:16–17; Heb. 1:1–2; 9:26; 1 Pet. 1:20; 4:7; 1 John 2:18; Jude 18). James sharply rebuked them for hoarding their wealth without regard for God’s timetable, the flow of redemptive history, or the reality of eternity. The day of judgment draws near!

Wealth is to be enjoyed as a blessing from God AND used to fulfill His will in meeting needs and advancing the gospel. Those who fail to do that suffer judgment.

“Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.” – James 5:4

The wicked rich were not only guilty of sinfully hoarding their wealth; they had also sinfully acquired it. Far from being generous to the poor as Scripture commands (Deut. 15:9–11; Matt. 6:2–4; Gal. 2:10), they exploited them.

Is this not what is happening in many prosperity churches today, as they make loads of money by giving false hope to the poor and the sick? Or what about the rich who misuses “cheap” labour? Lacking the security of a steady source of income, the poor day laborers depended on each day’s wages to feed and clothe their families. That pay, James warned the wicked rich, cries out against you.

James then added the sobering warning that the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth (cf. Deut. 24:15). The painful cries of the robbed, defrauded laborers reached the ears of God—and they would echo there until He acted in righteous judgment. The phrase the Lord of Sabaoth describes God as Commander of the armies of heaven (cf. 1 Sam. 17:45).

A frightening judgment awaits those who unjustly hoard the wealth they rob from the poor. Their victims will cry out for justice to the Righteous Judge and He will not disappoint them.

“You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.” James 5:5

Having increased their wealth by robbery and hoarding, the wicked rich added to their sin by using their wealth for their own selfish indulgence. James condemned the wicked rich for living in soft, extravagant luxury at the expense of others. Those who pursue pleasure and luxury often descend into vice in a vain attempt to satisfy their insatiable desires. A life without self-denial soon goes out of control in every area. Paul described such people as dead even while they live (1 Tim. 5:6) because, like the foolish son in our Lord’s parable, they squander everything on loose living (Luke 15:13). Those with money frequently close their eyes to the needs of others and the work of God, living solely to gratify their selfish, sinful desires. And, apart from faith in Christ, they face eternal ruin and loss.

Finally, James accused the wicked rich of having fattened their hearts. The desire for luxury led to vice, which led the unjust hoarders to seek to selfishly indulge every desire of their hearts.

Ironically, one of the wealthiest and wisest men who ever lived provides an illustration of the futility of such self-indulgence. Ecclesiastes 2:4–10 reveals that Solomon left no stone unturned in his frantic pursuit of pleasure. Yet Solomon’s evaluation of his pursuit attests to the futility of such selfindulgence: “Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun” (v. 11).

But lavish self-indulgence can lead to something worse than vanity. James warns of a coming day of slaughter—a frightening picture of judgment. In vivid language, he depicts the self-indulgent hoarders as fattened calves, headed for the slaughterhouse of divine judgment. Blind to heaven, deaf to warnings of hell, insensitive to the impending day of slaughter and judgment, the unrepentant, selfish, indulgent hoarders stumble blindly to their doom. Unless they repent, James warns, they will experience eternal damnation.

(Main Source: The John MacArthur New Testament Commentary – James)









“13 Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And He laid His hands on them and departed from there.” – Matt. 19:13-15

It is interesting that Matthew and Mark (Mk. 10:13-16) call the children in these Scriptures “paidion” (young children) while Luke (Lk. 18:15-17) calls them “brephe” (a new born baby). There was probably quite a range of ages represented. The disciples thought it was beneath the dignity of Jesus to be distracted from His more important work by children, so they scolded the mothers who were pressing forward with their little ones.

Mark says that Jesus was indignant with this action of His disciples. Great emphasis is given throughout the Scriptures on the importance of the proper care and training of children, and yet many pastors, like the disciples of old, think it is below their dignity to minister to such. They always want to be delving into the “deep” things of God. Why waste their years of study and training on such simple folk? Relegate the children to those of lesser or no special training!

Both Mark and Luke record the further application which Christ made that unless one receives the Kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no wise enter in. Because children are of such a trusting nature it is doubly important that they be given God’s truth to believe, and to be protected from false teaching which they would receive with equal readiness. Parents who take the attitude: “I am not going to force my beliefs on my children. I am going to let them grow up and choose what to believe for themselves,” are not only unwise but are definitely disobedient to the Scripture (Prov. 22:6).

There are certain Christian denominations which teach that the Church is spiritual Israel and therefore heir to Israel’s covenants. They believe that the children who are members of their church family are children of the covenant and therefore have a special relationship to God which other children do not enjoy. They believe baptism has taken the place of circumcision, so that at baptism the infant is regenerated as a child of the covenant. Some call this “presumptive regeneration,” that is, they presume the child is regenerate until later in life the contrary becomes evident. Thus, churches become filled with young people who presume they were regenerated at baptism but are in fact un-regenerated. Regeneration takes place only in association with personal faith in Jesus Christ.

The logical conclusion of infant baptismal regeneration is that unbaptized children are lost and if they die in an unbaptized state, they will be forever separated from God. Rome tries to mitigate this harsh doctrine by teaching that such infants do not actually go into the fires of hell but are confined to a place called “limbus infantium,” forever shut out from heaven.

Much confusion and harm has been done by a failure to distinguish between Israel and the Church of this dispensation, and the relation of people to the covenants of Israel. Baptism never took the place of circumcision in New Testament times. Both were practiced concurrently by the believing Jews. No child is regenerated by baptism. Children are born with a sinful nature and need to be saved as they become able to personally receive Christ as their Savior. They need the redemptive work of Christ the same as an adult. And on the basis of that redemptive work, God is now free in His elective purposes to apply that work to any and every infant that He chooses to remove from this life in infancy. But God has not set an age of accountability, so that we can say, the child is covered by the work of Christ until he is six or twelve years of age. That age may differ widely with different individuals. We cannot begin too early to tell our children the story of God’s great love and grace in giving the Lord Jesus to die for our sins.









Today the devil has no need to seduce, harangue or write threatening letters to most who call themselves Christians. That is because he already controls the lukewarm segment of the Church! In fact, he has placed his very own “angels of light” in the pulpits. He has entrusted to them a lukewarm religion of mixture: just enough tradition combined with a great deal of wickedness. The Church today pays tribute to the devil by producing wicked music, and calling for “Christian” entertainment and practicing of double standards.

Most “Christians” today walk in fear and intimidation, accommodate worldliness and are afraid to step out boldly and expose sin for what it is.

No, the devil’s onslaught today remains focused on those precious ones whose hearts are set wholly on hungering after the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s remnant Church on earth is Satan’s target because she is under covenant with the Lord and, therefore, poses a tremendous threat to the kingdom of darkness.

You see, the moment you give up on this world and put your life wholly in the hands of the Lord -watch out: All hell will come against you! You will become a target of the devil, and you will come under siege. You will be tested severely to see if you will really trust God in all things. And everywhere you look, you will see the enemy standing against you.


The first trick is to question a believer’s commitment to trust the Lord fully. “God is not going to get you out of this mess. You are going down! You are in real trouble, and your faith is not going to work.”

Are you in a mess right now – in really deep trouble? Has the devil told you that God is not going to rescue you, your faith is too weak or too little? Perhaps you are unemployed right now, and your bills are slowly mounting. You are scared because everything looks hopeless. You hear the devil laugh, “In spite of all your love for Jesus, giving up the world, doing the right things and trusting in God, it’s not going to work. You are destined to fail! You are going to end up broke, hounded by creditors and headed for suicide.”

“What can you do to stop this trouble? How will you make it if you can’t find a job-if you can’t see even a month ahead of you, let alone your whole future? How can you possibly survive if there is an army of troubles coming in behind your present ones? Do you really believe God is going to work a miracle for you and get you out of this big mess? Give up! Here – I have a deal to offer you….”

Now Satan adds a new twist: He tells you that God is the one behind all your troubles. Satan will try to convince you that God is getting even with you, that He is mad at you. This is his slickest lie! He makes you believe God has forsaken you and turned you over to trouble and sorrow. He wants you to think all your problems are the result of God’s punishment for your past sins. Don’t believe it! It is Satan who is out to destroy you.

No, dear saint, you are not going down. You are simply under attack, being barraged by the enemy’s lies because you have set your heart truly to trust in the Lord. Satan is trying to destroy your faith in God.

Another device Satan uses to intensify his attack on you is to try to focus your attention on his victories over other Christians. Satan will boast, “I am more powerful than your God. I brought down some of your biggest evangelists and seduced them into gross sin. I turned some of them into money-crazed liars. Those fallen televangelists were supposed to be close to the Lord, but look how they ended up. If preachers can’t make it, how can you? What makes you think God is going to answer you when so many spiritual giants are falling?”

Satan will bring to your mind all the Christians who claimed to trust God but who suffer trouble, sickness and even death. He will point out some dear friend, who is always in pain and has so little to live on she seems crushed by it. The enemy will say, “She trusted God -and look what it got her!”

Another of Satan’s tricks is to paint a fantastic picture of what your life could be like if you make a deal with him. The devil’s voice whispers, “There’s no need for you to be a nobody or to suffer unjustly. Just come out of your narrow, straight ways and I’ll fix things for you. You’re going to prosper! I’ll give you all the money you need. No more bills, no more just making ends meet. I’ll open the bank for you.”

What a crooked salesman the devil is! He tells you, “Just one little deal, and all your problems will be solved. You deserve a break; you’ve suffered enough. Now it’s your turn to make it.” But don’t be deceived: Every compromise you make in your walk with Jesus is the same as “going out” to the devil. When you sell short your relationship to Jesus, you are cutting a deal, making a bargain – and you are selling your soul in the process.

Satan promises, “You can take God with you when you go with me. You will have to make some changes – but you will still be you. It won’t hurt anything. You can have it all – Jesus and a deal!”

Be warned: If you buy into this lie you will be the devil’s slave from that point on. There is no land of wine and oil or paradise as he promised. The minute you come out to him, he will slap chains around your neck and hands and lead you off to Babylon. You will never get what you thought you would get. Instead, you will get the whip and chain, broken promises and despair. You will get a taskmaster for a father. The satisfying water he promised you is actually poisoned. No, you won’t have freedom. Instead, you will live under complete bondage, a slave to Satan’s whims.

Finally, as a last resort, Satan will send you a threatening letter: Have you received your own letter from the devil? Those divorce papers you received may have been Satan’s way of saying to you, “Read it, you failure! What good does it do to serve God and deny yourself? It didn’t save your marriage. It’s all your fault. It could have been avoided. Phony! Failure! Give it all up!”

That retrenchment letter on the job may also carry the devil’s voice. “So that’s what you get when you follow Jesus, huh? A swift kick? Nobody wants you. You’re too old, too much of a has-been. You’re going down, you’ll lose everything. You won’t have any rent money or be able to care for your family. You’re finished!”

Or what about that X-ray? There it is in black and white: You have a terminal disease: AIDS! Cancer! Lupus! It’s hopeless. And Satan says, “So you believe Jesus heals, do you? Well, where is He now? Why do you still have to suffer? You gave Him everything, and look what happened. He gave you nothing but continued suffering in return.”

So what do you do when you are confronted with a message from the devil? Pray and seek the Lord. Don’t ever talk or reason with the devil. Simply hold your peace.

You see, God’s response to the devil’s letter is to read it and laugh! God takes your letter personally. He said, “Devil, you didn’t send that letter to My child. You sent it to Me!” He who touches you touches the apple of God’s eye. God says His loved ones are safe and that the devil cannot harm them. Remember: “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them” (Psalm 34:7, KJV).

No matter how many demons invade, no matter how fiercely the kingdom of darkness threatens, God’s people are safe. Let it sink deep into your heart of hearts: You are safe. The Lord is set to defend and deliver you.


The Lord has written His own letter to the devil in Psalm 46. It is your answer to the devil in all his attacks. It reads as follows:

“God is a very present help in trouble” (verse 1, KJV here and throughout). Our God is present now. He is our help not just in ages past but a very present help now, today – in the midst of any and all troubles.

“Therefore [we] will not fear” (verse 2). We have no need to fear. Our God is a consuming fire, a defender and shield for His children. Second Timothy 1:7 tells us, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” He is altogether faithful and true to His Word.

“God is in the midst” of this temple, I cannot be moved (verse 5). My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit – and He says He is in the midst of that temple. Christ Himself makes His abode, His dwelling place, within my heart. And I cannot be moved or shaken! “The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved” (verse 6). Let the heathen rage, let all the kingdoms of the earth be shaken and moved. Our God will completely destroy all demonic attackers.

“He maketh wars to cease … he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear … he burneth the chariot in the fire” (verse 9). He is my army against my enemies, against those who make war against me. And He Himself will completely annihilate all the devil’s weapons arrayed against me: “No weapon that is formed against [the servants of the Lord] shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17).

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (verse 10). I will be still and rest completely in the knowledge that He is God. He is my God, my Redeemer, my Defender-the sovereign Lord over all my affairs. I am safe, surrounded by His presence in the pavilion of His love. And I will stand firm and behold His majesty and glory!”

Dear saint, God provides this letter for all of Satan’s attacks on your faith. Read it, meditate on it -believe it. It is heaven’s answer to your letter from the devil.

(Main Source: David Wilkerson – Hungry For More Jesus)









Most of us pray as David did: “In the day that I call, answer me speedily” (Psalm 102:2). “1 am in trouble; hear me speedily” (Psalm 69:17). The Hebrew word for speedily means “right now, hurry up, in the very hour I call on You, do it!” David was saying, “Lord, I put my trust in You-but please hurry!”

God is in no hurry. He doesn’t jump at our commands. In fact, at times you may wonder if He will ever answer. You cry out, weep, fast and hope-but days go by, weeks, months, even years, and you don’t receive even the slightest evidence that God is hearing you. First you question yourself: “Something must be blocking my prayers, some hidden sin. Maybe I asked amiss. Or perhaps my faith is too weak.” You become perplexed, and over time your attitude toward God becomes something like this: “Lord, what do I have to do to get this prayer answered? You promised in Your Word to give me an answer, and I prayed in faith. How many tears must I shed?”

Why does God delay answers to sincere prayers? It certainly isn’t because He lacks power. He could merely wink an eye or think a thought and His work would be finished. And He is most willing -even more than we are-for us to receive from Him. No, the answer is found rather in this verse: “He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1).

The Greek word for lose heart, or faint in the King James Version, means “relax, become weak or weary in faith, give up the struggle, no longer wait for completion.” Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” The Lord is seeking for a praying people who will not relax or grow weary of coming to Him. These people will wait on the Lord, not giving up before His work is completed. And they will be found waiting when He brings the answer.

I thought I had unshakable faith, that I fully trusted in the Lord. Then some of my very important prayers were not answered for a long time; in fact, some still are not answered. I reasoned with the Lord, “If You will just answer my prayers, it will build up my faith. I can go to the sanctuary and boast of Your faithfulness the way David did. Think of how others will be greatly encouraged.” But the whole time the Lord was saying to me, I don’t build your faith on My answers-I build your faith on My delays!

Anybody can believe when the answers to prayer are flooding in. But who’s going to believe after a year or two years? As time goes on, we abandon our prayers and the belief that He will answer, and we move on to something else.

We say to God, “I’ll be faithful to You. But don’t expect me to have faith to wait for answers to prayers anymore.” In reality, God wants only to make sure you’re not going to relax in your prayer vigil. He wants your heart set on persevering, no matter how long His answer takes.

Jesus gave us a parable to prove that He waits on us to dig in and determine not to give up. It is the parable of the distressed widow who kept coming to the judge seeking justice (see Luke 18:2-8). The judge finally granted her request only because he was worn down by her constant pleading: “Because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me” (verse 5). Jesus added to this parable, “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily” (verses 7-8).

You say, “But doesn’t Jesus seem to be speaking a paradox in this verse? First He says God `bears long’ with us-then He says He `will avenge us speedily.’ ” Most of us misinterpret this passage completely. You see, Jesus isn’t speaking of delaying a long time. He says God wants to answer us speedily but is enduring something. God is bearing something that calls for patience on His part. He’s saying, I’ll put up with this thing I see in your heart-I’ll bear with you-until you’re willing to lay hold of Me for the answer as I desire you should.

As I look back at some of the things I’ve prayed for over a long period, I hear the Lord saying, I’m holding up this request to you, like a mirror. And through this, I’m going to show you what’s deep in your heart. What I’ve seen reflected in that mirror are doubt … fear … unbelief … things that have made me throw myself at Jesus’ feet and cry, “0 Lord! I’m not interested in the answer anymore, but only in getting this spirit out of me. I don’t want to doubt You-to pray and weep for an answer, yet still have seeds of unbelief in my heart!”

It’s true that the hardest part of faith is the last half hour. When it looks as if God won’t answer, we give up, putting all behind us and going on to something else. And as we do this, we think we are surrendering to God’s providence, His sovereign will. We say, “Lord, do what You think is best,” or, “Well, God, You must not have wanted it after all.” That is not what God ever intended! When we pray for what is obviously the will of God-salvation of a family member, for instance-we have every right to hold on and never give up until Jesus answers.

We have every reason not to listen to the devil. And we have every right to ask God to plant the faith of Jesus Christ in us and not let us relax until we see completion.

Too often, instead, we faint-we fail the test. If we hadn’t fainted, we would still be holding on more determined than ever to see the answer through. Yet the Lord sees our fainting heart all along. In fact, He gives us a picture of this humbling experience in 2 Kings 6-7.

Samaria was under seige by Ben-Hadad and his great Syrian army. The city was starving: A donkey’s head sold for eighty pieces of silver, a pint of dove’s dung for five. The prophet Elisha had prophesied to the king of Samaria that God was going to deliver the people supernaturally. He said to hold on-to wait, pray, repent and trust God no matter how bad things got.

As the king paced atop the city walls, he may have thought, “How long must this go on? We can’t hold out much longer. If God doesn’t answer soon, we’ll have to go out with the white flag and surrender.” Then a woman saw the king and cried out, “Yesterday my neighbor and I boiled and ate my baby. We agreed that today we would eat her baby, but now she has hidden her child. King, it’s unfair-make her give up her baby, too!”

That did it! The king ripped open his sackcloth, and in a rage he bellowed, “Elisha, off comes your head! You had us believing that God would answer your prayer. You told us a miracle would happen.” When the king found Elisha praying among the elders, he screamed, “Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?” In other words, “It’s too late! The deadline has come and gone and God didn’t keep His word. Prayer isn’t going to help. It’s time to take matters into our own hands!”

While the king was fainting-quitting on his faith-the answer was almost at the gate. Elisha told him, “Tomorrow about this time a seah [about eight gallons] of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria” (2 Kings 7:1). It’s too bad the king hadn’t waited another 24 hours before blowing up. He didn’t know that God was at work creating a miracle. In the Syrian camp, a miraculous buzzing filled the air-the sound of a huge army of chariots rumbling toward them. Panic swept over the Syrians, and they dropped everything and ran for their lives. So the Samarians brought home wagonloads of the Syrians’ food. Vegetables, fine flour and barrels of barley poured through the city gates. Watching this, the king must have been red-faced as he recalled stating, “God didn’t keep His word!”

This kind of thing must have happened to me at least a dozen times. I’ve given up and said, “Oh, well, this must not have been God’s will. It’s an impossible situation.” And sometimes the answer came within an hour of my words! Is that what’s happening with you? Have you given up and stopped pressing in? You must recognize that God is already at work, and His answer is just about to arrive. It is when we wait in faith and see it through that we grow in faith and bring greater glory to His name.

(Source: David Wilkerson – Hungry For More Jesus)











The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, (4:5b–6a)

There is no greater source of spiritual stability than the confidence of knowing that the Lord is near. Engus (near) can mean near in space or near in time. Some take engus in a chronological sense, either as a reference to Christ’s return (3:20–21; James 5:8), or to believers’ death, which ushers them into the Lord’s presence (1:23; 2 Cor. 5:8). While those are comforting truths, it seems that Paul’s emphasis here is on the Lord’s nearness in the sense of His presence. He is near both to hear the cry of the believer’s heart, and to help and strengthen them. In Psalm 73:28 the psalmist declared, “The nearness of God is my good” (cf. Pss. 34:18; 75:1; 119:151; 145:18). Because of God’s nearness, believers should not be fearful, anxious, or wavering. They should not collapse but be strong and stable (Josh. 1:6–9; Pss. 27:14; 125:1).

Unfortunately, when they face trials, believers often seem to forget what they know about God. They lose their confident trust in Him, lose their self-control and spiritual stability, and are defeated. Even strong believers are not immune to an occasional lapse, as an incident from the life of David reveals.

Seeking refuge from Saul’s relentless pursuit, David sought asylum in the Philistine city of Gath. Some of the Philistines recognized him and said to Achish, the king of Gath, “Is this not David the king of the land? Did they not sing of this one as they danced, saying, ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?” (1 Sam. 21:11). Realizing that his true identity had become known, “David . . . greatly feared Achish king of Gath” (v. 12). Instead of trusting God to deliver him, David panicked and “disguised his sanity before [the Philistines], and acted insanely in their hands, and scribbled on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva run down into his beard” (v. 13). His act produced the desired results: “Then Achish said to his servants, ‘Behold, you see the man behaving as a madman. Why do you bring him to me? Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this one to act the madman in my presence? Shall this one come into my house?’” (vv. 14–15). As a result, “David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam” (1 Sam. 22:1). There, with the crisis past, David had time to reflect on how he should have handled the situation in Gath. In Psalm 57, written at that time, he reaffirmed the truths about God that he had temporarily forgotten:

Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge until destruction passes by. I will cry to God Most High, to God who accomplishes all things for me. He will send from heaven and save me; He reproaches him who tramples upon me. Selah. God will send forth His lovingkindness and His truth. (Ps. 57:1–3)

Remembering the character of God restored David’s spiritual stability and his joy, enabling him to declare, “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!” (Ps. 57:7).

Like David, the prophet Habakkuk faced a crisis. But unlike David, he maintained his spiritual stability. Habakkuk the prophet cried out to God about His apparent indifference to Judah’s apostasy:

How long, O Lord, will I call for help, and You will not hear? I cry out to You, “Violence!” Yet You do not save. Why do You make me see iniquity, and cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; strife exists and contention arises. Therefore the law is ignored and justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore justice comes out perverted. (Habakkuk 1:2–4)

To Habakkuk’s dismay, God answered that things were going to get even worse:

Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days—you would not believe if you were told. For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that fierce and impetuous people who march throughout the earth to seize dwelling places which are not theirs. They are dreaded and feared; their justice and authority originate with themselves. Their horses are swifter than leopards and keener than wolves in the evening. Their horsemen come galloping, their horsemen come from afar; they fly like an eagle swooping down to devour. All of them come for violence. Their horde of faces moves forward. They collect captives like sand. They mock at kings and rulers are a laughing matter to them. They laugh at every fortress and heap up rubble to capture it. Then they will sweep through like the wind and pass on. But they will be held guilty, they whose strength is their god. (Hab. 1:5–11)

Instead of answering Habakkuk’s original question, God’s reply raised a second even more vexing question: How could He use a godless, pagan nation to chasten His people?

Faced with Judah’s apostasy, the impending Chaldean invasion, and his own unanswered questions, Habakkuk reminded himself of what he knew to be true about God: “Are You not from everlasting, O Lord, my God, my Holy One? We will not die. You, O Lord, have appointed them to judge; and You, O Rock, have established them to correct. Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, and You can not look on wickedness with favor” (Hab. 1:12–13). Habakkuk reminded himself of God’s eternity, faithfulness, justice, sovereignty, and holiness.

Despite the trials, doubts, and questions he faced, Habakkuk’s faith and trust in God stood firm. He affirmed the importance of living a life of faith in Habakkuk 2:4: “The righteous will live by his faith.” Both initially in justification, and continually in sanctification, the Christian life is a life of faith in God. As he reminded himself of the greatness of his God, Habakkuk’s faith grew stronger. By the end of his prophecy he was able to sing triumphantly of God’s glorious nature and power,

Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places. (Hab. 3:17–19)

Habakkuk’s faith in God made him a spiritually stable man—so much so that even if the normal, dependable things in life suddenly collapsed, he would still rejoice in God.

The Lord who is near is the almighty, true, and living God revealed in Scripture. Those who delight themselves in His holy power, love, and wisdom and cultivate a deep knowledge of Him by studying and meditating on His Word will live by the foundation of that truth and be spiritually stable. Because of the presence of God, believers should be anxious for nothing. Nothing is outside of His sovereign control or too difficult for Him to handle. A low view of God leads to a myriad of problems in the church:

Weak, struggling, unstable Christians need to build their strength on the foundation of what the Bible says about God. The result of the church’s failure to equip believers with the knowledge of God’s character and works is a lack of understanding of His nature and purposes, and a subsequent lack of confidence in Him. The shifting sands of shallow or faulty theology provide no stable footing for the believer.

Anxious, fretful, worried, harried believers are inherently unstable and vulnerable to trials and temptations. Anxiety is both a violation of Scripture and totally unnecessary. In a magnificent passage in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus pointed out the sinful folly of anxiety:

For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear for clothing?” For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt. 6:25–34)


Harmony in the fellowship, joy in the Lord, contentment in circumstances, and confident trust in God are the first steps on the path to spiritual stability.

but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (4:6b-7)

Our society admires people who stand firm, hold to their convictions, are courageous and bold, and cannot be bought, intimidated, or defeated. If courage of conviction, integrity, credibility, and an uncompromising devotion to virtue are admirable qualities for people of the world, how much more essential are they for Christians? The very name “Christian” identifies believers with Jesus Christ—the most perfect model of uncompromising, courageous integrity who ever lived. The New Testament repeatedly commands believers to follow Him by standing firm in submission to God (cf. 1:27; 1 Cor. 16:13; 2 Cor. 1:24; Gal. 5:1; Eph. 6:11, 13, 14; 1 Thess. 3:8; 2 Thess. 2:15; Heb. 3:6, 14; 1 Peter 5:9, 12).

Spiritually stable people react to trials with thankful prayer. Such prayer is the antidote to worry and the cure for anxiety. The theology of prayer is not in view here, but rather its priority and the attitude the believer brings to it. The three synonyms used here, prayer, supplication, and requests, all refer to specific, direct offerings of petition to God. The assumption of the text is that believers will cry out to God when they have a need or a problem, not with doubting, questioning, or even blaming God, but with thanksgiving (cf. Col. 4:2). Instead of having a spirit of rebellion against what God allows, believers are to trustingly cast “all [their] anxiety on Him, because He cares for [them]” (1 Peter 5:7).

God’s promises support the wisdom of gratitude. He has promised that no trial believers face will be too difficult for them to handle (1 Cor. 10:13). He has also promised to use everything that happens in believers’ lives for their ultimate good (Rom. 8:28). Even suffering leads to their being perfected, confirmed, strengthened, and established (1 Peter 5:10). Believers should also be thankful for God’s power (Ps. 62:11; 1 Peter 1:5; Rev. 4:11), for His promises (Deut. 1:11; 2 Cor. 1:20), for the hope of relief from suffering (2 Cor. 4:17; 1 Peter 5:10), for the hope of glory (Rom. 5:2; Col. 1:27), for His mercy (Rom. 15:9), and for His perfecting work in them (Phil. 1:6).

People become worried, anxious, and fearful because they do not trust in God’s wisdom, power, or goodness. They fear that God is not wise enough, strong enough, or good enough to prevent disaster. It may be that this sinful doubt is because their knowledge of Him is faulty, or that sin in their lives has crippled their faith. Thankful prayer brings release from fear and worry, because it affirms God’s sovereign control over every circumstance, and that His purpose is the believer’s good (Rom. 8:28).

Once the sinner has made “peace with God” (Rom. 5:1), that is, in salvation having ceased to be God’s enemy and become His child, he can enjoy the peace of God, the inward tranquility of soul granted by God. It is a confident trust in His flawless wisdom and infinite power that provides calm amid the storms of life. Isaiah wrote of this supernatural peace: “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You” (Isa. 26:3). Paul prayed for the Romans that “the God of hope [would] fill [them] with all joy and peace in believing” (Rom. 15:13). In his high priestly blessing on Israel Aaron said, “The Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace” (Num. 6:26). In Psalm 29:11 David wrote, “The Lord will bless His people with peace.” Shortly before His death Jesus promised, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27). God’s peace is not for everyone, however; “‘There is no peace for the wicked,’ says the Lord” (Isa. 48:22), neither with God, nor from God.

Paul further defines this supernatural peace as that which surpasses all comprehension. It transcends human intellectual powers, human analysis, human insights, and human understanding. It is superior to human scheming, human devices, and human solutions, since its source is the God whose judgments are unsearchable and whose ways are unfathomable (Rom. 11:33). It is experienced in a transcendent calm that lifts the believer above the most debilitating trial. Since it is a supernatural work, it resists any human comprehension. The real challenge of the Christian life is not to eliminate every unpleasant circumstance; it is to trust in the good purpose of our infinite, holy, sovereign, powerful God in every difficulty. Those who honor Him by trusting Him will experience the blessings of His perfect peace.

When realized in believers’ lives, God’s peace will guard them from anxiety, doubt, and worry. Phroure (will guard) is a military term used of soldiers on guard duty. The picture would have been familiar to the Philippians, since the Romans stationed troops in Philippi to protect their interests in that part of the world. Just as soldiers guard and protect a city, so God’s peace guards and protects believers who confidently trust in Him. Paul’s use of the phrase hearts and minds was not intended to imply a distinction between the two; he was merely making a comprehensive reference to the believer’s inner person. Once again, Paul reminds his readers that true peace is not available through any human source, but only in Christ Jesus.

(Source: John MacArthur – New Testament Commentary – Philippians)









Some differences will always remain in the church. Indeed, it will not go away. It is something that every Christian will have to live with. Consequently, we should deal with it in a matter that is consistently Christian.


No matter what our particular position may be with respect to an issue, we should not resort to placing uncharitable labels upon people who disagree with us. It does no good to try and categorize those who hold different views than us as immature or to be less worthy Christians. This does not do anybody any good.

Unfortunately, there are in fact some unloving assessments from people who are being emotionally unstable, or unwittingly spreading a satanic counterfeit. These are those that are not filled with the Spirit and are consciously attempting to stop God’s work in this age. This type of behavior is unchristian, unbiblical, and counterproductive.

There are immature, arrogant, and divisive people on all sides of an issue. In addition, there are also godly, spiritually mature, and biblical literate people, on all sides of the same issue. We should seek for Christian unity in our diversity of views, while simultaneously standing on truth. Paul wrote about the correct attitude all believers should hold: Always keep yourselves united in the Holy Spirit, and bind yourselves together with peace (Ephesians 4:3 NLT).


We must be careful how we develop our own understanding with respect to an issue. It is possible to find one verse, and then use it as a basis for an entire system of belief. We often make this mistake.

One must seek to find out what the totality of Scripture has to say on a subject, not merely one verse that will be the basis to support our interpretation.


In addition, the fact that some may have used bad arguments to prove their case does not necessarily mean what they believe is wrong and we are right. All it means is that someone offered an unconvincing argument! This is important to understand. We often find in the writings of both parties the idea that they have proved their case, because they have pointed out illogical arguments from those who have a different position. Pointing out bad arguments from those who disagree with us, only means that the other person has bad arguments. It does not settle the matter.

Any examination of two different perspectives should be based on the very best arguments each side has to offer, not on the poorest arguments that were offered (in our opinion).


The experience of each believer is unique. Therefore, no one should attempt to make everyone conform to their own particular experience ór relationship with the Lord.

Many times, even with good motives, we attempt to encourage all believers to be like us and to have the same experiences as we do. In doing so, we can make other believers feel uneasy because they have not had the same experience.

Some Christians have convictions based upon their understanding of Scripture. It is wrong for one group to feel superior to the other. The Apostle Paul warned believers about comparing ourselves with one another (2 Corinthians 10:12).

The only thing that believers really ought to make foundational to the Christian faith is the Person of Jesus Christ.


It is possible that our belief system is too comfortable—we think that we have all the answers. We think we know God well enough to the point that we fully know how He operates. This is a very dangerous position to hold. We need to give God the ability to work any way in which He wishes, we cannot limit Him to the way that we think He will work.

Jesus, in comparing the work of the Holy Spirit with the wind, said the wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit (John 3:8).

The Holy Spirit works in the ways in which He desires. He certainly does not always operate according to our understanding.


All of us can learn from those believers who hold differing viewpoints than us. Consequently, we should not shut ourselves up to only those who agree with us all the time. If anyone disassociates themselves from other Bible-believing Christians on the basis of their view on one or two subjects, it does not show their orthodoxy, it only shows their immaturity. Often, these issues are not ones that should divide believers, or keep them from associating with one another.

Indeed, they may be right, and we may be the ones who are wrong! There are always things that we can learn and during debates we can learn from each other.









Our society offers so much. If I am lonely or depressed, if I feel empty and unfulfilled, there are film shows, television programmes, DVDs, music, stories, plots, drama, action, thrillers, romance, whodunits, adventure, you name it, we’ve got it. Slow music, rock, classic, pop, rap, hip hop, rave, metal, or underground? Perhaps you need to go to a disco, or night club, or a trance party. Lights, noise, laughter, rhythm, music, people… yes, people. But why are there so many empty and artificial people around? They seem so false. They also look lonely. Why?

Try some magazines, the newspaper, or the Internet. Wars, political intrigue, crime, inflation, scandals, skip that… what’s on at the movies? I wonder why I feel so empty inside? I feel nothing as I read of the starving millions, of war victims, terrorism and murders. Why do I care so little about other people? It could’ve been me… Let’s see what DSTV has to offer. Try binging another Netflix series, that might work.

I feel I’m getting more and more empty and frustrated inside. I think so much less than I used to. I do so little. Visit our relatives? Goodness no, we’ll miss that T.V. programme and besides, what is there to talk about? Pour another drink, put on another CD for background music. Light up a cigarette, yes, I know it is unhealthy, I know my lungs are being corroded away and I cough so much. I will try to kick the habit next week.

Why am I so restless, so ill at ease? Let’s try the amusement park, circus or gambling. Bright lights, beautiful colours, noise, music, laughter, crowds… yes, people! But, why does life seem so meaningless and pointless? I feel like a merry-go-round. I’m not getting anywhere. Let’s go to the casino. Try the one-armed bandits and Lotto. Some lose, some gain, but I come away feeling empty. Could I be wasting my time?

PlayStation 3! Xbox 1! Computer games are fun… but why do I feel like I’m wasting my time? My life seems to lack direction. There is no real purpose in life. Gambling seems to be a tax on those who cannot do maths. Cards, racehorses, games! Life seems to be one big game. Have you heard the latest joke? Why am I afraid of silence? I’m afraid to be alone. Where’s my cell phone? Who can I SMS or WhatsApp?

The T.V. can help me kill time. The radio, iPhone, MP3 player, iPod and cell phone must crowd out those restless thoughts within me. Who am I? What am I doing here? Where am I going? Try some make-believe: put on another series. Let’s “google” something on the Internet. What am I so afraid of? Why do I need so much noise and so many gadgets and amusements to keep me occupied? Why am I so empty inside? My life seems to be controlled and manipulated by this pleasure-mad, entertainment-orientated world. Advertising offers so much; it all sounds so good, but it is so disappointing. I feel like my soul’s been ransacked and all the meaning and identity has been robbed from my life. Life is so plastic and artificial.

God, is this the way it’s meant to be? You never made the world this way, did You? Why do I feel so dead inside? Is it because I’ve tried to live without You? I know I haven’t paid much attention to the Bible – would that have helped? I suppose I should get into nature more. Would prayer help? I feel like I’ve been missing out on what life is really meant to be. It’s like I’ve let this synthetic society rape me of all reality and peace of mind. Can You forgive me for all these wasted, misused years? Will You show me a better way to live? Please fill this empty void in my life with reality and love.

I’ve been existing when I should have been living. I’ve been playing when I should have been praying. I’ve been reading the newspaper and surfing the Internet when I should have been reading the Bible, I’ve listened to the radio and my iPod instead of to You. Oh God, forgive me, I have spent more time watching T.V. than helping your creatures. No wonder my life has been so empty and frustrating. I have wasted my time and money on worthless man-made make-believe. My life and talents have rotted away while I have endured electronic mass-production entertainment and digital distractions.

Thank You for showing me life as it really is in the Bible.

Thank You for showing me what it can be. Thank You, Jesus, for showing me the way: what an example You are! Help me to live an unselfish life serving You and Your creation. Thank You for the beautiful forests and mountains! Thank You for clean country air and live animals in the game parks. I enjoy being alone now. You are there. I am different now, You have changed me. Since I surrendered my life to You, You have shown me how much You love me. You even came as a human being to die the death I deserve. Thank You for taking my punishment in order to free me from this selfish, sinful life I have been wasting my life on.

Lord Jesus, Thank You for giving my life meaning, purpose and direction. I find that I do not need artificial stimulation from entertainment and make-believe anymore. I like people now; they do not threaten me anymore. I want to help them. Things are so different already. I feel like I have been freed from slavery.

You have given me a New Start in life and a New Life to start.

“You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

For other Bible-based teaching pamphlets and Gospel literature, or for details of scheduled Biblical Worldview Summits, Great Commission Courses, outreaches, events and seminars, contact:
Dr. Peter Hammond
Frontline Fellowship
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa








A persecution

The persecution of Christians is often a topic many prefer to avoid but it is a reality. Throughout the New Testament, we read that the world hates Christians and that they will be persecuted. Here are a few of the verses:

  • Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
  • Mark 10:29-30, “Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.”
  • Luke 6:22, “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!”
  • John 15:20, “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.”
  • Acts 14:22, “strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”
  • Romans 8:35, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?”
  • Romans 12:14, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.”
  • 2 Corinthians 12:10, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
  • 2 Timothy 3:12, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

In an article called “The Promise of Persecution,” Greg Laurie mentioned that the period in church history from A.D. 100 to A.D. 314 was known as the Martyr Period, when literally thousands of Christians sealed their fate with their blood for their believes. According to secular historians, there have been 10 great persecutions against the church. These were all major attempts to wipe out Christianity from the face of the earth, starting with the wicked Caesar Nero and ending with Diocletian. Believers were fed alive to wild animals. They were taken to Roman arenas for sport. They were torn apart, tortured, and burned at the stake.

But persecution is not a thing of the past. As a matter of fact, as we approach the soon return of Christ, the persecution of Christians in different parts of the world is reaching “genocidal” levels, according to a new report commissioned by the British government in December 2018. In terms of an interim report issued by an Independent Review set up at the request of the UK foreign secretary, are overwhelmingly the most targeted religious group in the world, and “acts of violence and other intimidation against Christians are becoming more widespread.” In some regions, the level and nature of persecution is arguably coming close to meeting the international definition of genocide, according to that adopted by the UN. Christianity is now facing “the possibility of being wiped out in parts of the Middle East where its roots go back furthest. As an example, in Iraq, Christian numbers have slumped from 1.5 million before 2003 to below 120,000 today. In Syria the Christian population has declined from 1.7 million in 2011 to below 450,000. The report notes that violent persecution exists “in many forms,” and can include both state and non-state actors. In an article published by CBS News on 3 May 2019, 80 percent of religious believers who are being persecuted around the world are Christians.

Even in the western world we see how the removal of crosses and the destruction of Church buildings and other Church symbols are on the increase. The 116th class of US Congress is one of the most diverse to serve the United States and the Bible is no longer the only religious book in use to swear in officials – the Quran now enjoys equal status. FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor asserted in an op-ed written for the Tribune News Service that the officially sanctioned National Day of Prayer — observed on May 2 this year — “goes against the spirit of the secular Constitution.” Prayers and Biblical teachings have basically been removed from all schools and universities. Christian businesses are often being forced to provide services that go against their religion, like baking wedding cakes for homosexual couples, while some churches are summoned to marry such couples. We also see attacks and discrimination increasing against Christians on social media. These are but only a few examples.

The Easter Sunday massacres in Sri Lanka (the third Easter in a row that has been targeted by radical Islamists) during which 359 Christians died, should still be fresh in our minds. These horrendous murders made the press for a day or two, while the world generally cared more about the fire in the famous Catholic Notre Dame cathedral than it does about those people who have their bodies blown to bits in architecturally less significant places of worship. Terrible massacres on Christians in Africa hardly enjoyed any news coverage, while the entire world mourned when 50 Muslims were gunned down in New Zealand in March 2019.


In John 15:18 Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” As Christians, we are not like the world—vain, earthly, sensual, and given to pleasure, wealth, and ambition— and the world therefore opposes and hates us. Christian morals also stand in the way of globalism, socialism and for the Antichrist to be revealed.

Jesus also said, ” ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). Peter says of Jesus, “When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). In Matthew 5:10-12 we also read, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

The persecution of Christians allows them to share in a unique fellowship with the Lord. Paul serves as an excellent example. James argues that trials test the Christian’s faith, develop endurance in his life, and help develop maturity (James 1:2–4). It strengthens the character of believers and enables them to better value the support of true brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. Hardship can stimulate the Lord’s people toward a greater resolve to love and comfort one another and lift one another to the throne of grace in prayer.

Even in the face of Christian persecution, we can press on and during such times, we are in constant communication with God through prayers.

Also, instead of growing weaker during these times of persecution, the body of Christ (real believers) actually grows stronger. Persecution separates the real from the false. If you are a true follower of Jesus, then you won’t back down if persecution comes your way. If God allows persecution in your life, then He will give you the strength to face it.

Sometimes we whine about how hard it is to be a Christian, even when experiencing the smallest bit of tests, trials and tribulations in our lives. Maybe we need to stop for a moment and consider our experience in comparison to that of Christians in countries such as India and in the Middle East.


We should prepare ourselves as I do believe that persecution will intensify as we get closer to the Lord’s return.





In the Bible, we see the moral failure of many leaders and they act as a reminder to us that even those near to God are tempted to turn away. Many pastors fall as a result of unaccountability, pride, and a distorted view of the Bible or even the image of God in all. The rash of well-known church leaders that we have seen fallen within the past two or three years, have nearly all engaged in moral failure or departure from the truths of the Word of God. They have made wrong decisions regarding the proper and biblical way to act as leaders.

There are some churches that would tell you right up front that they are and want to be Biblical, and if someone is in such a church, they would have an opportunity to search the scriptures with their elders and the pastor, as the Bereans did.  On the other hand, there are some churches that are openly liberal, openly experiential, and they have no interest or basis for understanding or for sound doctrine.

In a relatively short period of time, three of my closest friends shared their hardship about things going wrong in their churches, while they received very little to no support from their pastors to address and correct these issues. In all 3 instances, concerns relate to ideas that were promoted by their churches or some of its members, that have no Scriptural basis or completely go against God’s Word.

So now, the questions are whether to act or not and if needed to do so, how should the church and the pastor be approached?

The vision of the body of Christ as having different members must be recalled on a regular basis. Your own role in the church, whether larger or smaller, is critical. Therefore, we should know how to respond to spiritual abuse in our churches. Most people are paralyzed by such situations, not knowing what to do and often in shock that it could even happen.

As leaders, pastors’ call is to speak what must be said and to lead their people into places of safety and openness. If church members have questions over moral failings or unbiblical teachings and practices, they should be allowed to ask these questions in safe places and receive affirmation and comfort that their concerns are valid and will be addressed.

People are hurting in many churches, and leaders either often don’t know or aren’t responding as they ought to, to those who have serious questions and concerns. Some are placing their proverbial fingers in their ears in denial over the serious and deeply troubling conditions in the church today, while others are too afraid to address these issues and upset those in the wrong. A good pastor will never hide from people with hard questions. Sometimes it’s more than just a moral failure— and that may take an honest conversation of a different kind. This is called following Jesus in serving others.

Pastors need godly people, deacons and elders, Sunday school teachers, friends and well-meaning church members to hold us accountable and make sure they accurately handle the Word of Truth (2 Tim 2:15).

The pastor is supposed to confront members of his congregation who are involved in wrongdoing and false teaching and should also be open-minded if his own preaching or moral values are questioned. This is one of his responsibilities as a minister. He should preach on the whole council of God – “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction,” (2 Tim. 4:2). The Scriptures thus clearly teach that the pastor is to reprove, rebuke, and exhort the congregation. Since individuals are members of the congregation, then the pastor is supposed to go to those individuals and lovingly call them to repentance if needed.

Thom Ranier is a church consultant who has quantified fourteen symptoms of a Toxic Leader. Here are a few symptoms that come to mind: a toxic pastor…

  • manipulates people to promote their personal agenda
  • dodges, deflects, or rejects criticism
  • consistently rationalizes and minimizes their negative behavior
  • intimidates people with their biblical and persuasive arguments
  • twists scripture to support his or her claims
  • turns criticism back on the person who confronts them, shutting them down
  • shields himself or herself from critics and marginalizes them
  • insists on their agenda despite the concerns of others.
  • justifies their agenda by saying that “God told them.”

The pastor’s inner circle is muted, eliminating any kind of accountability. Those on the outer circle don’t feel like they are close enough to the pastor to say anything. They notice questionable behavior but don’t have enough evidence, or proximity to the pastor, to feel confident to say anything. If the inner circle is silent, who are they to say anything? And so it goes.

As time goes by, habits are cemented into place. The pastor is effectively insulated from any correction. He or she is free to perpetrate their toxic behavior because the insiders are silent, and the outsiders have no access. The majority of the church has no idea what’s going on because they only see the pastor on Sunday. If someone does suggest a problem they are often shot down as being critical or rebellious because most people aren’t aware of what’s really happening.


I do not encourage people to just pack your bags and leave.  Someone once said if you’re looking for the perfect church and you find it, don’t join it because you will ruin it. Remember, we are not perfect ourselves.  Things that we understand today, we did not understand ten years ago as we do now, and we cannot expect that everybody must have the same maturity in the faith and the same understanding of everything as how we understand these things. Check your motives. Do you want your pastor to be able to hear you and receive what you say? Or do you just need to get something off your chest?

2 Timothy 2:23-24 says, “But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient.” On the other hand, we may never compromise with the gospel. Make sure that this is a real issue and that you have gone about it in a gracious, loving, humble manner.

Deal with the issues you have quickly and wisely. Some people wait for year before they raise an issue which had been rankling them. During that time, the individuals who are holding back become bitter and distance themselves from the pastor or church, and sadly, in some instances from the ministry of the Word.  Deal with matters in a timely manner in order to prevent bitterness. As Scripture says, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and give opportunity to the devil” (Eph. 4:26).

Seek confirmation. Before you confront a pastor, talk to your spouse or a trusted friend in confidence to make sure it’s not just you. Be careful not to use this as an excuse to gossip. The goal is to check the accuracy of what you see as wrong.

Pray before you go. Ask God to season your words with salt and to help you to speak the truth in love. Pray for wisdom as you speak. We may believe that another person, like a friend or even the pastor, will have all the answers to our questions. Here’s the thing: they won’t. Jesus calls us to bring our hurt and pain to Him first. He reminds us that He is the answer to all the wrongs in the world, and that He will one day make things right.

Going to the pastor can feel overwhelming. Who are you to challenge a pastor? Well, if the pastor isn’t open to being challenged then he or she shouldn’t be a pastor. Pastors need to model transparency and humility. The door should always be open. If you feel overwhelmed, it’s fair to speak to a trusted friend or counselor to prep you for the meeting, and even go with you for support.

Ask permission to “go there”.  When you approach your pastor, give him a heads-up that you need to “create a little chaos.” It gives the pastor the opportunity to humble himself and pray for a teachable spirit.

How you deliver your message is everything. Humbly, graciously, not with the idea of being right and the others wrong. Raise a sincere question and ask the pastor if you both could go to the Word of God, that he can show you the contrary to what you believe, if he differs from your views.  Remember, in the Bible Paul said to Timothy not to rebuke an elder, but to entreat him as a father.  Seek to edify and build up your pastor (Eph 4:29). If your goal isn’t to strengthen and help him and the church, even if you need to say difficult things, then you have no business approaching him.

When giving criticism, be ready to receive criticism. Your problem with your pastor may simply be a spiritual problem in your own life. If you object to something he preaches or allows in the church, it may be that he never intended to preach falsely or did not realize what was going on in the church. That said, he is a sinner just like you and may also have been unfaithful in his preaching. Remember that both you and your pastor are sinners. There may be fault on both sides. “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).

If the pastor is truly toxic, he will either reject your criticism or placate you with false assurances. Then you need to take your concerns to the next level. Jesus said the next step is to go again, but with two or three witnesses (Matthew 18). These witnesses are people that see the same problem you see or at least trust what you see and will support you and your concerns. If they agree with you, ask them to go with you to the pastor and have them support you and even represent you.

The church is supposed to be a blessing to the world. The pastor should be a champion of grace and truth. There is nothing more perverse and distorted than a toxic pastor. Please do something! Leave or confront. But don’t sit by passively and allow it to continue. So much abuse has been allowed to happen because people have been overly cautious.

If you are not being heard, then you have to decide whether you should leave the church or not. Some people choose to stay and persistently stand opposed to the toxicity. Others feel that a biggest statement is made by leaving. There is no right or wrong response. You must do what you feel is best – but pray for guidance in your final decision.

Never leave a church without having attempted to resolve problems with your pastor. Ducking out is not an option. It is just plain sinful. It is sin against God chiefly, but also against His church. You may have genuine concerns with the ministry of your pastor and the direction of the church. But to leave without speaking to them may lead to further damage in the church. Your voice, rightly and humbly used, may be the instrument God uses to bring godly change in a man’s life. “The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds persuasiveness to his lips. Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Prov. 16:23-24)

Philippians 2:14-16 reads, “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”

Don’t give up hope. These may be dark days for the church, but Jesus is the light of the world, and as we press on to purify ourselves, his light will shine brighter and brighter. Hebrews 12:12-13 reminds us, “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.”

Indeed, we are in a very difficult season and by all outward standards the church is on a perilous path. But for the grace of God who works in us. It is hard. But it is essential as people matter and the gospel matters.


According to 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, all truly saved Christians are part of the Body of Christ. It reads, “12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.”

Yet, differences sometimes exist in the opinions and interpretations of Scripture between the members of the Body of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 13:9-12, Paul gave us a biblical reason why some of these differences may occur, “9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

Sadly, there is also the other side of the “differences” coin, so to speak. These differences are often caused because of pride and arrogance and also due to the Word of God is not being studied for what it says but rather twisted to accommodate personal likes and dislikes. In these instances, differences often result in heated debates and even strait forward and fleshly disputes. 1 Timothy 4:1-2 warns that this would increasingly happen in the latter days “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.”

This leaves us with a few questions, such as: “Is everybody who claims to be a Christian, part of the Body of Christ?” “How much should I tolerate?” “How should Christians resolve their differences?” “Is there a point where we should rather walk away and distance ourselves from others who claims to be Christians?” “Am I causing division in the Body of Christ?”

In an article published by Dr. Mark D. Roberts, he provides good guidance on how to deal with these differences and disputes. Much of what he said is build into our article. He started his article by saying, “I wish conflict among Christians were a relatively insignificant problem. I wish we who believe in Jesus could experience the unity he commended to us (John 17:20-24). I wish there wasn’t animosity within churches and denominations. But all of this is, I admit, wishful thinking. The fact is that Christians often have a hard time getting along with each other.”

These disputes were not what Jesus intended. In his so-called “High Priestly Prayer” recorded in John 17, Jesus prayed:

“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23)

A little earlier, Jesus had said to his disciples: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). To be sure, there are times when followers of Jesus do love each other in an exemplary way. But, far too often, such love is marred by conflict, tension, and outright meanness. And, far too often, we have not dealt with these problems in a loving way.”

No church in Scripture is more ridden with disagreement and controversy than the Corinthian church. It took Paul multiple visits and letters, two of which we have in the New Testament, to sort out the problems in this church.

Among other things, some of the divisive issues in the Corinthian church included over-identification with one or another Christian leader and selfishness in church gatherings. These might seem familiar to some of you …

Beneath the plethora of issues lay the challenge of working out the Christian life in a non-Christian culture, as well as a huge crowd of lukewarm church goers and “religious” people.


God’s inspired Word is always the best starting point there is.

First, in times of conflict our natural human emotions often try to dictate our behavior. We feel anger and want to lash out. We feel wronged and want to get revenge. Chief among these ways is the desire to “win” our opponent. We defend ourselves and we play the victim if needed. We conveniently ignore facts that don’t support our side. We hold grudges, and so forth.

Rarely are these the ways of a God who says to us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8). The world doesn’t have much room for one who tells us to turn the other cheek, who calls us to forgive seventy times seven, and who urges us to imitate his humble, self-sacrificial servanthood.

Yet, if we allow our emotions to guide our behavior, inevitably we’ll simply make matters worse. Conversely, if we tenaciously hang onto biblical teaching, we’ll find the power to act rightly even when our feelings try to drag us in the wrong direction. So we need the Bible to show us different ways to operate in times of conflict.

Also, in times of conflict among Christians, we need the Bible as the source both of practical guidance (here’s how to act) and of theological insight. The biblical combination of ethics and theology helps to shape our thoughts, feelings, and actions.


One of the most important passages for discerning God’s guidance for Christians in conflict is found in Philippians 2:1-8.

“If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited,

but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross.”

In light of this passage, if you’re in the midst of conflict with other Christians, you need to do the following:

  1. Ask the Lord to speak to you through His Word and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. As God convicts you, go with it. Talk to Him about it. Confess if you need to. Ask for His help to obey if you need to.
  2. Be open to correction from other believers.
  3. Act upon what God has said to you through His Word and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Be a doer of the Word, not a hearer only (James 1:22). You may find it very hard to do what God wants you to do. Be assured: He will provide the strength you need if you depend on him.


Philippians 2:1-8 speaks of being agreeable, humble, and considering others as better than yourself. This passage begins with a series of ethical injunctions that could be paraphrased: agree with each other; love each other; be humble; care more for the concerns others than for your own concerns. These imperatives are summarized in verse five: “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” In a nutshell, we are to think as Jesus thought.

The bigger picture is an image of Christ’s active humility. It’s a portrait of one who was fully equal to God the Father, but who, nevertheless, chose to take on the form of a slave by becoming human. Moreover, this passage paints a shocking picture of a divine being who not only became human, but also chose to die a most humiliating and painful death by crucifixion. One cannot imagine a more startling and unsettling image of humility and self-sacrifice.

How might our conflict with others be different if we took seriously the humility of Jesus? How might we react to those who wrong us if we were to reflect upon the self-giving love of Christ?

In Philippians 2, Paul uses the image of the humble, self-sacrificing, serving, crucified Christ to teach the Philippians believers how they ought to treat each other. We’re called to imitate Christ, not in any way we please, but specifically with respect to his humbling, self-giving, sacrificial action.

This isn’t easy to do! Even when getting along well with others it natural to put our self-interest first. It’s impossible to obey without God. It challenges the very fiber of our being. It calls us to counter-intuitive and counter-cultural humility. We’re just not wired to do this sort of thing apart from divine help.

When we put our faith in Christ, the very Spirit of God comes to dwell in us, empowering us with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. The Spirit is in the process of making us more and more like Christ. Once we realize our own inadequacies, we’re ready to trust God more completely, and to discover that we can do all things through Christ who makes us strong (Philippians 4:13). The more you depend upon Jesus, the more you’ll find unexpected strength to be agreeable, loving, humble, other-directed, and Christ-like.


Which church is the one that God loves and cherishes and died for? Which church is His bride? The answer is that no visible church or denomination is the true church, because the bride of Christ is not an institution, but is instead a spiritual entity made up of those who have by grace through faith been brought into a close, intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8–9). Those people, no matter which building, denomination, or country they happen to be in, constitute the true church.

On the simplest level, a church is a gathering of people who belong to God through faith in Jesus Christ. Wherever Christians come together in Christ, there is a church. But this is just the beginning. In 1 Corinthians 3 Paul speaks of the church in striking and surprising language:

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” (3:16-17)

Here the temple of God is the church, the gathered fellowship of believers. The context in 1 Corinthians 3 makes it clear that Paul is not focusing on individual believers when he says “you are God’s temple.” In verse 9, the Corinthian church is “God’s building” (3:9). Those who labor as church-planters are in the construction business, so to speak (3:10-15). So when we come to verse 16, we know that the temple of which Paul speaks is not the individual believer but the assembly of believers.

The first three chapters of 1 Corinthians have to do, not with threats to individual believers, but with the threat of division in the church at Corinth. So when Paul says, “If anyone destroys God’s temple,” he’s referring to the church of God in Corinth, which is at risk because of the conflicts in the church.

From the mere fact that the church is God’s temple, you’d naturally conclude that it ought to be treated with reverence and supreme care. Before you start trifling with the church of God, you’d better realize what you’re doing.

So, if you’re in the midst of “church” conflict, step back from the issues long enough to remember what it is you’re dealing with. Are you thinking of yourself and your opponent as the temple of God? Are you doing everything you can to protect and care for God’s temple?


The church is not simply a religious club, formed and guided by its members. It belongs to God in a strong, ultimate sense.

Paul reiterates this point at the conclusion of his opening address to the Corinthians: “God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1:9). Notice, first of all, that the Corinthian believers aren’t in the fellowship because they chose to join. From a theological point of view, they “were called” by God into the fellowship. They belong not merely to a human institution, but to a fellowship that has been founded by and is the property of the very Son of God.

Twice in his opening address to the Corinthians, Paul emphasizes the fact that their gathering is not their own. It belongs to God the Father and to the Son of God. Later Paul will explain that the church comes into existence through the work of the Spirit of God (see 12:12-13). This is a fundamental truth about the church, and one Paul emphasizes intentionally because it relates to the problem of conflict among Christians.

To relate Paul’s point to the situation of conflict among Christians today, when you’re caught up in a disagreement with other believers, you need to remember whose you are. You belong to God through Jesus Christ. This is true of you personally and also of the church.

The church doesn’t belong to you or to the people who are on your side. Not even to the majority of the members or to the founding members or their descendents. It doesn’t belong to the pastor, or the elders, or even the denomination (if there is one).

If we truly believe that the church belongs to God, then we’ll be more committed to finding God’s solution to our conflicts than making sure that our side wins. Only one opinion really matters, the opinion that belongs to God. The church is first and foremost, a vehicle for God’s glory. The church exists to do God’s bidding, to represent God’s kingdom, and to bring praise to God.


Idolizing pastors and church fathers is often one of the major causes of disputes. There are many cases where people are so identified with the pastor or church fathers that things are way out of balance. A church that belongs to God ends up being spoken of, and sometimes even thought of, as the personal property of some individual or denomination. The identity of a pastor (or church father) and church are so intertwined that it’s almost impossible to think of them as distinct. That which exists for the sake and glory of Christ ends up as a personality cult with the pastor (or church father) as the dominant star.

The tendency of Christians to over-identify with their leaders is an old one. In fact, it goes back to the earliest years of the church. In the letter we know as 1 Corinthians, Paul gets right to the point after his opening address:

“Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.”” (1:10-12)

Fundamental to the divisions and disagreements in the Corinthian church was the tendency for the different “parties” to identify with some Christian leader over and against the others. Of course, love and appreciation for Christians leaders is a fine thing. But when this love and appreciation becomes divisive or idolatrous, then we have a real problem. Paul wraps up his argument with a simple imperative: “So let no one boast about human leaders.” Though appreciation of leaders is fine, this must not run over into bragging or anything that would divide the church.

Our “job” is to help the church be unified in Christ, based on the truths in the Word of God, not to divide in order to defend ourselves, our denominations, our church fathers, our pastors or our own opinions.  Devote yourself to seeking what’s best for whole church – the Body of Christ.


As mentioned earlier, we are to imitate the sacrificial example of Jesus Christ. As Jesus taught, we often need to turn the other cheek, to walk the second mile (Matthew 5:39-41). Jesus modeled self-giving sacrifice through his death on the cross. Yes, indeed, this sort of thing grates against our own desire for vindication as well as our culture’s preoccupation with winning no matter what. But our Lord teaches us, both by word and by deed, how to give up our lives so that we might gain true life, eternal life, life in all of its fullness.

If you’re in a conflict with other Christians, whether it is personal, professional, or ecclesiastical, the way NOT to solve the problem is by making it a personal vendetta or humiliating your opponent before others. Yes, we may have to sacrifice our pride for a while. Yes, we may lose certain personal advantages and popularity. But what we gain, and what the church of Jesus Christ gains, may well be worth the cost.

Often people are not as spiritually mature and they get caught up in a worldly effort to win. But the fact that we Christians fail to do what Scripture calls us to do is no argument for not trying to obey in the first place. We should make every effort to settle our disputes in a Christ-like manner. And when this fails, there will be times when God will call us simply to lose and walk away, rather than to fight a useless battle. Yet in this losing, as counter-intuitive as it might seem, there will be a great gain for God’s kingdom, and even for our own souls.

Do not miss out on TOLERANCE – PART 2. It will be published on the blog within the next few days.