I have never felt comfortable with labels. People all over want to label God's Word as if it were a pair of designer jeans that are currently popular. Some cast doubt that God wants the best for His Children, that He wants us to have health, safety, and security. People label being secure in God's Peace and His Provision as being a 'prosperity message bearer' which has became a tainted image for some Christians. Now, people are speaking against preachers and people who believe that God's Son came to 'fulfill the law and the prophets' thru His Grace. They say, "Ahhhh....these people just don't talk about the whole Bible - they are leaving out the part about God's wrath and hell fire and brimstone - that's that old grace message." It makes me wonder what the next label will be!
In 1 Thessalonians 2:3 -5 we read
"For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover greed ---God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else."
Now, that's a bold man speaking. Yes, Paul faced all sorts of persecution for carrying God's Word - but onward he marched building an army of believers every where he went. He wasn't concerned about pleasing people; he was concerned about the Truth, The Way, and The Light - Jesus Christ. Paul's only concern was that God be pleased. Paul was preaching and teaching against false gods and hypocrites; he did not condemn his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Yes, his letters offered correction, but not condemnation.. as we see in Romans 8:1..."Therefore, now, there is no condemnation..." So I'm wondering why in today's body of believers, do we find it necessary to criticize and label other Christians?
In my heart of hearts, I believe that a spirit of jealousy has attacked the minds, hearts and spirits of some of our fellow Christians. Some are labeling the Grace message being taught today as false doctrine. I have to ask--based on whose intrepretations? I don't think it is wise or fair to believe that everyone will agree with every preaching style; but, that's not what I'm addressing here. I am talking about the Word of God. It is not up for debate on content. The Bible was divinely inspired, written by hand by men, and has undergone I don't know how many translations, but its content has not changed. His Word is unalterable. It is constant and true. God often enlightens us and gives us rhema, which is a divine revelation concerning His Word. I believe that God gives His Insight at different times to different people. I believe He enlightens us as we open our hearts and minds to Him, as we truly hear from Him.
If we believe that God's Plans for us are good and not evil...Jeremiah 29:11 - then we are believers of both a prosperity message and a Grace message. We believe that our sins are forgiven thru Jesus Christ's Blood shed on Calvary; we believe because we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior that through His life, death and resurrection there is repentance for sins resulting in life eternal--even though we do not deserve forgiveness or life eternal in Heaven with Our Father.
I can't find anywhere in His Word that says, "I want My children sick, poor, broken, and wretched, or I want My children suffering." I am aware that sometimes God brought His Wrath - when disobedience and disbelief and sorcery were happening; God was not happy. However, even then...with His complaining chldren in the desert, God gave His Help, His Grace and Propserity!
Wow - that pretty much sums up Prosperity and Grace! John 3:16..."God so loved...." (Really? That's Grace in action. Yeah, but, ...Jesus plus nothing....that's my belief. I don't see a 'but.' I just want to thank Him, praise Him, and be grateful) that He "...so loved the world..."
Will every preacher I hear get everything right? No. Will I enjoy every message I hear? No. Is it the responsibility of a preacher to save me? No. Make me happy? No. Make me fall in love with Jesus? NO....that is my choice, my decision, my responsibility, and my great gift from God - Thank You Jesus!!!! Have I ever critized a pastor, a preacher, a priest, a minister? Yes, and I have asked for forgiveness. I have had to repent for my unthoughtful, careless speaking against any man or woman of God.
It is my prayer that I grow in praying for all men and women of God that are trying to share what God has laid on their hearts; it is my prayer that God send legions of angels to protect the persecuted Christians around the world and those that come under the attack of other's disparaging and discouraging words. Let us also Praise God for those that are willing to stand up, speak up and share God's unconditional love with the world! Let us be the first to speak of His Love, Jesus's gift of life eternal, God's Love of us and His Desire to see us healed and whole. Let us join together and pray His Love, Peace, and Joy for everyone of our brothers and sisters in Christ!