Jeremiah's words are as inspired and relevant to the Church
today, as they were to the people whom he addressed back then. One of the
greatest abuses in the Church is hierarchy. It is human government,
not God's! (Read Jeremiah 5:31.) Many such overlords are charlatans!
Cursed is he who does the work of the
Lord deceitfully (Jer 48:10).
This principle “carries an idea of
‘slackness’ or ‘idleness’ in fulfilling the wishes of another” (NKJV
comment). There are many so-called ‘men of God’ who have taken control of
large numbers of believers, and who do the Work of God deceitfully.
Some may not be slack in their outward zeal
and effort, but what God sees in their heart is grossly displeasing to Him.
They do not truly care for the things of God. They reject His holiness, and
one day soon they will be rejected by Him!
I mentioned on the previous page Matthew
Ashimolowo of KICC in London. In the article series Dreams From God About
Morris Cerullo, I mentioned another false minister, John Avanzini. In
A Message To The Charismatic Church I named another exalted man who
considers himself a high-and-mighty prophet – Kenneth Copeland. And in
various exposés of some other preachers (mostly in Newsletters), I have
named names, just as Paul named names to warn the Church of impostors (1 Tim
1:20; 2 Tim 2:17,18; 4:10,14). This is biblical and very necessary (Rom
...avoid them. For those who are such do
not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth
words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple (Rom
By serving “their own belly” Paul means they
are innately and irreversibly selfish. Self-motivation is what makes their
You can see it in their fruits, just as Jesus
warned (Matt 7:16). Those who serve God for money, for fame, for prominence,
for power, etc., have telltale signs of carnality accompanying them. It may
take time, but eventually you see things that are not right. They amass big
bank accounts, live in palatial abodes, spend lavishly upon themselves, or
get trapped in other sins of the flesh that are rooted in lust, greed or
Therefore, by their fruits you will know
them (Matt 7:20).
Jesus didn’t mean physical fruits – large and
popular ministries, reaching many people. He meant spiritual fruits –
qualities that indicate whether a person is converted or not. Do their
spiritual qualities include humility, self-abasement, not wanting
self-aggrandisement, or are they proud, lifted up, arrogant, seeking to be
noticed and acclaimed?
Woe to you when men speak well of you,
for so did their fathers to the false prophets (Lk 6:26).
For what is highly esteemed among men is
an abomination in the sight of God (Luke 16:15).
Take heed and beware of covetousness, for
one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses
Charlatans do what they do to be seen of men
(Matt 23:14, 25-28); they preach and prance on stage for effect – to
persuade people, to win them over – to get you to follow them.
They are motivated by self interest. They appear good. They say some
things that are good. They even do some things that are good. But what is in
their hearts is predominantly evil.
Like the old-time Pharisees, they may expend
great effort to win ‘souls’ (Matt 23:15), but they are doing that to win
people to their cause. It’s done in the name of Christ, but
it’s not done with the altruism of Christ. Such men are in it for POWER, and
for money, and for other ancillary selfish, devilish interests!
They are out to make a name for themselves.
They are out to build a big church which gives them acclaim in the eyes of
others. People foolishly think that the bigger your church, the better you
must be as a minister. Sometimes there can be some truth in that, but
generally it is wrong to be impressed by human factors such as numbers of
converts, size of the set-up or influence it exerts. Physical factors can be
deceptive – they are not the spiritual fruits Jesus was mainly referring to,
to which you should look to perceive whether a man is truly God-fearing.
Look at the people whom Jeremiah confronted
in his day. They were the majority, but they didn’t fear God. They were
motivated by self-interest and pride.
...the proud men spoke, saying to
Jeremiah, “You speak falsely!” (Jer 43:2).
And so do the highly-acclaimed evangelists,
preachers and ministers of today accuse us and other prophets whom God sends
to remind them of the way. They won’t be told. Few receive any correction.
Their hearts are set on their goals and agenda.
The root core of their problem is self-will.
They are ships who have set their course and are not about to change
direction while things are going well. They won’t listen to God, except to
hear what fits what they want. So, they have ended up with a very
lop-sided theology and blinkered approach.
Compare these men’s service with Paul’s:
Paul “served the Lord with all humility, with
many tears and trials” (Acts 20:19), he “kept back nothing that was
helpful...” “testifying... repentance toward God and faith toward Jesus
Christ” (20:20,21). “Chains and tribulations” awaited him (20:23). The
sufferings did not daunt him because he didn’t count his life dear to him
(20:24). He died to God daily and was ready to die for the truth then
He declared boldly and honestly:
For I have not shunned to declare to you
the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).
But the charlatan preachers of today DO shun
to declare to you the whole will of God. They don’t even recognise the whole
will of God, and when prophets or others bring more of the will of God to
them, they reject it and carry on down their same self-willed route.
Like in Jeremiah’s time, the people were
giving place to syncretism, burning incense to idols, including the Queen of
Heaven (Jer 44:15-25), these preachers of popularity are busy building their
own empires by NOT telling the whole counsel of God!
God says to them today:
You took some of your garments and
adorned multicoloured high places for yourself, and played the harlot on
them (Ezek 16:16).
Son of man, say to her: ‘You are a land
that is not cleansed or rained on in the day of indignation.’ The
conspiracy of her prophets
[preachers who claim to bring you the Word of God] in her midst is
like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured people; they
have taken treasure and precious things... [the money motive].
Her priests have violated My law and
profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy
and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean
and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that
I am profaned among them (Ezek 22:24-26).
And so it is. If you confront any of these
men with the fact that, by their subtle and permissive teaching, they have
thrown out God’s law and that they are violating God’s Sabbaths, they will
deride you as a legalist, as seriously misguided and ill-informed, and spurn
your words with contempt!
Their motive is dishonest gain (Ezek 22:27)
and pride. They WANT the adulation or acceptance of many people. They are
not prepared to be small, insignificant, unnoticed. No one likes to be
rejected, especially to have one’s message rejected if you have a calling
from God to declare it. But it’s what everyone called to ministry must
accept. We are not here to win people; we are here to preach God’s truth.
Wrong Ministry Motives
Let’s list some of the wrong motives that
fuel ministers in their efforts. Don’t be deceived by the fact that they
bring some of the Word of God. And remember that most of them are deceived
about the errors they preach. I don’t believe most false ministers preach
falsity knowingly. But because there is pride, or self-seeking in their
hearts, the deception follows on.
Some telltale signs of falsity and false
Great swelling words (2 Pet 2:18).
(2 Pet 2:14).
indulging fleshly desires much of the time (2 Pet 2:13).
(2 Pet 2:10).
(2 Pet 3:5).
(2 Cor 4:2).
Seeking the approval of men
(2 Cor 5:12).
Trying to impress others.
(2 Cor 10:12).
Compromising with truth for the sake
of human expedience, (Rev 2:14,15), or rejecting
Not loving the truth of God above all
else. (2 Thes 2:10).
Supplanting Jesus’ position over the
Church. (2 Thes 2:4).
Exerting illicit controls; not
allowing people true spiritual freedoms.
Many people will ‘go’ for Jesus if they get
what they want, but that’s not the right basis for ministry. The
signs of true conversion are willingness to give up whatever is not of God
in our lives, and to do whatever God says no matter what the cost to
The service of God under the Old Covenant was
sacrifice. It still is under the New Covenant (Rom 12:1). Seeking for self
is the exact opposite! (Matt 22:5.)
In Jesus’ parable in Matthew 22:1-14, you see
that many are called – to be part of God’s family and to be ministers,
serving others with the truths of God – but why few are chosen (22:14).
‘Going’ – taking the gospel to others – is not a matter of self interest. It
is actually a matter of contempt! People will hate you for bringing the
truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth! (John 15:18-20; 16:2,3).
Charlatans won’t preach the whole truth. It
doesn’t sell well. It doesn’t fill pews. It doesn’t make megachurches! It
doesn’t bring wealth and power.
That’s what motivates these guys: wealth
and power. Wealth in the Greek carries the numeric value of
666, as do the words rendered tradition and faithful. If you
are to be completely faithful to God, you can’t tolerate church tradition!
You must counter it where it is false! That’s the test which faces all
Cursed is he who does the work of the
Lord deceitfully (Jer 48:10).
Malcolm B Heap,