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How
Is Godís Work Accomplished?

Many evangelists have a mistaken idea of their objective, men like Benny Hinn, Reinhard Bonnke, Morris Cerullo et al. They are equally misguided about HOW their assignment is achieved. Ignorance is the soil of failure!


I
tís 2007. Soon a two-year revival before the Great Tribulation will crush the West for 3Ĺ years; then Jesus will return in power to rule all earth.

Thatís not long. What does God want you to do in this short space of time prior to Jesusí visible return?

Is God frantically trying to save the world now Ė spiritually Ė before itís Ďtoo lateí to reach people? Is He pulling out all the stops to do, as Benny Hinnís most recent slogan says, to ďreach the lost at any costĒ?

No. No. No.


Correcting Misguided Notions

All this frantic, feverish activity to evangelise the Ďlostí Ė to enable them to hear about the name of Jesus and why Jesus is the Lord of lords Ė is based on a false assumption. That assumption is that if you donít reach them now, they will be forever lost and unable to be retrieved. Those who die without knowing of and committing their lives to Jesus will burn forever in hell Ė so goes the widely-held dogma.

Thatís a false concept, based upon superstition that has its roots in pagan fears. It has coloured Bible translatorsí bias in how they rendered some passages. The real truth about hell is revealed in Why Hell? And the fact that God is not trying to save all the world now can be clearly seen if you carefully examine what God records for us in the Bible:

1) That, although this is your day of salvation, it is not the only day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2 should not read, as it does in the New King James Version:

In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2).

ĎTheí ought to be rendered as Ďaí, as Robert Young correctly translated the passage:

In AN acceptable time I did hear thee, and in A day of salvation I did help thee. Lo, now is A well- accepted time; lo, now A day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2 Youngís Literal Translation).

If today Ė the present era Ė is A day of salvation, it presupposes that there are other eras of salvation. We know from the history revealed in the Bible that salvation came through Jesus. Godís Holy Spirit was not made widely available to humanity prior to Jesus. From the beginning, God only worked with Ďa seedí, a righteous line Ė individuals specially selected, such as Abel, Seth, Enoch (Gen 4:25); Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and later from the nation of Israel. Jesusí first advent made Godís Spirit available more widely, but not to all in the world. That will happen when Jesus comes to establish the Millennium, a handful of years away now.


2) God established His festivals for mankind, and first gave them to Israel. These show that this is not the time when He is attempting to call all the world.

You remember Jesusí parable about the kingdom of God being HIDDEN(!) in THREE measures of meal? (Matt 13:33.) Remember that Israel was commanded to appear before God at THREE times of the year? (Deut 16:16.) Ė Spring, summer, autumn. Those three festival seasons depict three times of Godís working with mankind in His plan and purpose.

Past: Passover reminds us of how God passed over the sins of ancient Israel, of their deliverance from Egypt, to bring Israel into a new place where they could receive His words of life. Very few heeded!

Present: Pentecost (called also the Feast of Firstfruits) depicts the firstfruits being readied, after Jesus made the Spirit more widely available. This is the Church Age when more have heeded than in Israel.

Future: The Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day futuristically illustrate the time of universal peace when Jesus rules earth, and of the time at the end of that Millennium when all who ever lived before and never heard Godís saving truth can have their minds opened and their names entered in His Book of Life. All who can be saved will be saved then.

The booklet The Festivals of God explains their meaning. It is significant that the majority are unaware of these truths, and of Godís plan, having been blinded by false concepts. Thatís what Jesus intimated would occur (Matt 24:4,5) and is one meaning of the three measures of meal being hidden.


Itís Not About Numbers

Because it is not Godís time to reach and save all in the world now, He selects those whom He is calling to Him, just as we read Peterís inspired words in Acts 2:39 that the number is ďas many as the Lord our God will call.Ē

If God is calling, say, one from a village of 1,000 population, it wouldnít make any difference if you gave a relevant booklet about salvation to every person in that village. They wouldnít respond. Only the one whom God is calling would respond! The number is foreordained. God has predestined whom He will call in this age. It is all established beforehand. So it is imperative that you know how to listen to God and follow the lead of His Spirit, so He can use you.

You can save yourself a lot of wasted money and effort, if you let God show you whom He is calling, or where you are to preach, just as Paul was shown to go to Macedonia at one time (Acts 16:9), and not waste his time in other places.

With evangelists like Benny Hinn and Reinhard Bonnke, who were given the task of reaching large numbers, likewise it would make no difference whether they organise mass evangelistic rallies in every city of the world, they would not be able to bring conversion to any more than the relative few who are being added to the number in this Age. The ekklesia (Church) is the body of believers who are Ďcalled outí to be separate in spiritual loyalties at this time. They are few compared with the whole population Ė sometimes one in a thousand, sometimes one in a million; in some cases, even less. It is a little flock (Luke 12:32) which is in danger of being crushed out of existence (Matt 16:18).

In rare instances God has caused revival to bring relatively many into the kingdom. For example, in Nagaland, where something like 90% of the population are Christian (however, maybe only half are true?!). But these isolated instances are deliberate on Godís part to give justification to those who want to believe the false notion that the whole world can be saved now. These exceptions have given credence to the false apostles and false prophets who work from power-hungry motives, laced with pride, and whose message is appealing to the naive.

It is carnally appealing to see large numbers converted. To those ignorant about how God works Ė via the grain of mustard seed Ė the work of evangelists like Benny Hinn, Reinhard Bonnke, Luis Palau and others who preach to crowds of thousands, looks impressive, and seems to be where Godís main work Ďis atí. But appearances can be deceptive Ė very deceptive when God also provides some miracles of healing to accompany them.

God is fulfilling His word that, where the gospel is preached with faith, Jesus provides signs and wonders (Mk 16:17,18). Over the past decades, it has been Godís time to reach many people with the Gospel. But there is a time for everything under the sun (Eccl 3), and the way He has worked yesterday is not the way He will work tomorrow.

He is doing a new thing (Is 43:19; 48:6) on earth now, and you will see it if you are open to His Spirit, and do not seek to be impressed by numbers. We are about to enter the time of trouble Jesus predicted (Matt 24:21), and things are changing. Evangelism, too.

Soon, Benny Hinn and Reinhard Bonnke, et al, will not have the platform they do at present. Things are going to rapidly change. Their ministries, in their present form, are going to end. The curtain will come down on organised Gospel-preaching to large crowds, which requires massive financial outlay.

I was a member of a large church (about 100,000 members at its zenith), and rejoiced to see its outreach throughout the world. We felt it was doing the Work of God because of the size of its operations. Anything small seemed insignificant and not of God. But what WE were involved with Ė do you see the egoistic pride in that? Ė was tremendous. Pride pumped through my veins when we watched the churchís propaganda film at the autumn convention. We saw Ďourí church leader meeting with world leaders (giving them expensive gifts of Steuben crystal). But political eminences often give recognition to those who have Ďmade ití on the world scene, and who have gained influence equal to theirs. Hob-nobbing and back-scratching pays in such circles. World leaders donít invite the poor to meet with them. Nor do they want to have an audience with the John the Baptists, who have no money or prestige to grace their coming.

Money and power are the things that interest world leaders. And, what I could not see at that time, they were the things that interested Ďourí church leader!

At that time I was viewing things carnally. So do many who Ďfollow afterí all the big name evangelists of our day.

Benny Hinn aims to reach 25 million people this year, 2007, with the Gospel. That sort of goal impresses a lot of people. What they cannot see is that the appeal of such a target is coupled with pride.

People are like sheep, and they follow the crowd. They want to jump on board a large ship. They Ďgo with the flowí. Such ships need a lot of finance! And many sincere believers are willing to sacrifice large sums of money to make the venture possible.

The only problem is, God may prefer them to be using their money in a much smaller and less impressive way by reaching out to a poor person down the street who has got real problems, and helping to restore their life. Jesus backs up personal evangelism just as much with dreams, signs and wonders Ė sometimes more so, than mega-evangelism! Itís according to need, and God stoops down from His glory to touch and rescue the contrite and needy.

In fact, throughout the Church Age more people have been brought to Christ by personal evangelism than by the mega variety! Many more! Itís how the Gospel first spread.

Jesus said to me a while back that the worth of an evangelist is not in the number of people he reaches but in the depth of repentance he teaches. And there is problem with the latter, now. The big names are not receiving the most recent revelation from the Lord for church reform. These are the days of Elijah, and truth is being restored, but these Ďbig guysí are missing it in their theology.

So, you, with cleaner theology (which you can have Ė it is all laid out visibly and clearly in Midnight Ministries publications) can have a greater blessing of God upon your outreach than men like Reinhard and Benny, despite how well they have served God over the years! I donít want to take anything away from what they have achieved. But itís time to move on.


Itís Not About Money

When you turn the TV on and see GOD Channel Ė not that I do, because we canít get GOD TV, and I donít want it anyway, itís nauseating! Ė you canít miss the appeals for money. If you sign up to any of the big ministries, you are likewise bombarded every month with letters that are frankly an excuse to remind you that they need money.

You donít need a college degree to see that these ministries operate by a reliance upon money! What if they didnít send out these incessant reminders to donate? The money wouldnít come in quite so abundantly.

Their marketing managers are astute enough to know that! Itís a pity they are not so astute in the things of God!

These ministries operate by money, not by faith. Benny Hinn et al may be walking by faith, and listening to God on stage, but what about off stage?

What if God told them to give away 75% of their income and give it to a smaller ministry? They wouldnít do it. Why? Because they wouldnít believe that God would say such a thing! Their agenda is blinkered. They donít have a proper awareness of the restoration work of Elijah in our time! They have one thing in mind, and that is reaching the masses, and the end justifies the means. Itís tragic, but thatís the case.

Now Benny Hinn Ė or his marketing manager Ė is resorting to trying to sell icons to raise funds! Not icons like the Catholics have sold, but physical things like prayer shawls and bottles of anointing oil for $20. And then they also charge entry fees for those who want to attend their teaching sessions. Itís all about money. Truth has become secondary. Faith in God to provide is giving way to dependence upon men, upon money, upon the physical.

You donít need a covering of cloth to protect you and give you inspiration from God, you need His Spirit!

You donít need to pay $20 for a bottle of anointing oil. Get any old bottle of olive oil, or other vegetable oil, and use some of that. It doesnít have to be prayed over by any big name evangelist. Itís not him you need; itís Godís Spirit. The oil is merely a symbol to remind the physically-minded recipient that God is touching him with His Spirit Ė if you have faith.

What on earth has gone wrong in these ministries!? Why are these men of God so off-track? Why do they point people to physical things as if they are either solutions, or physical crutches to remind us? Do we not have the Spirit to remind us? Do we not have an unseen, but very real, Intercessor? You bet we do! The Spirit of Jesus (Rom 8:26,27).

But physical marketing strategies are taking over from reliance upon the Spirit Ė because they seem to pay dividends in fiscal remuneration! Itís all about money!

After I awoke this morning God spoke to me about writing what I am saying here. He reminded me also of this:

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out, and having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (1 Tim 6:6-10).

While those words are plainly directed to the error of self-seeking and pursuit of wealth for personal self-aggrandisement, they are also pertinent to any ministry that puts wealth on a pedestal or relies upon it to do Godís Work. Some ministries seek money as if they need it more than the Spirit! They are false!

The prophets remind us of our priorities:

For who has despised the day of small things? (Zech 4:10.)

Many believers despise Godís small beginnings. Most only get involved and support the big thing Ė often when it is running away from Godís ideal, out of control, carried along by physical inertia and human folly.

This is the word of the Lord... ĎNot by might, nor by power, but by My Spirití, says the Lord of hosts (Zech 4:6).

Benny Hinnís ministry, Reinhard Bonnkeís CfaN (Christ For All Nations) ministry, and many others in similar shoes, all now move ahead by human inertia. God backs them up with signs and wonders because He has promised to. He is true to His Word. But they are no longer true to His Word, which is why these great works of men will come to an end in the days just ahead of us.

Jesus taught His disciples to rely upon His Spirit. Shortly before He left, He asked them if they had ever lacked anything when He had sent them out to evangelise. They said ďNothingĒ. (Luke 22:35).

He was emphasising something important by the question. When you have Jesus, you donít need to rely upon anything else. If you think you do, He will depart from you. He is God. He is completely sufficient for all. He is our Ďall in allí. He is all we need for all situations.

But if you think you need money as well as Him; if you think you need more than His Spirit, and try to make a big public display for your outreach Ė using physical means to attract or bring people along Ė you are not doing what Zechariah said. You are using human might or power to substitute the work of the Spirit. You make the Spirit jealous. You grieve God.

The mind of God is not like the mind of man (Is 55:8). Men of God need reminding of this just as much as the Ďordinaryí person. So, any human factors in evangelism are not to be trusted Ė money, numbers, influence, fame, impressiveness, attractiveness, charm, charisma, glamour, lure or appeal to human desires, etc. What is highly esteemed among men is often abomination to God (Luke 16:15).


What Itís About

True evangelism relies upon God and things of the Spirit, over-riding considerations of the flesh. The life of Sundar Singh is a perfect illustration. He faced complete rejection by family and friends, death threats, extreme opposition, including violent attack, loss of all worldly goods, and the prospect of no physical future in this life. That was the price of his evangelism, not money. He evangelised without money! His reliance was completely upon God, upon His Spirit, and Jesus never let him down.

God led him, spoke to him, and delivered him. It was all God-centred. There was nothing self-centred about his approach. His objective was not numbers. It was to make Jesus known, even if it was only to one or two who would listen.

Compare that with many modern evangelists, who are out to make a name for themselves as well as for Jesus (I do not include Benny Hinn or Reinhard Bonnke in this Ė I believe their motives are much more honourable), and you cannot fail to see the contrast.

Jesus said:

My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight... (Jn 18:36).

However, many evangelists say Jesusí kingdom IS of this world, and they Ďfightí to make it accepted.

One wonders if they have ever understood what Paul was trying to convey in Hebrews 11 where he lists many of the faithful. None of them received the promises in this life. They merely saw them afar off, and trusted God in faith that His kingdom would be theirs in the next life.

Itís not about establishing Godís kingdom now upon earth, and achieving that goal by converting the masses through large-scale evangelism. The way many charismatic preachers talk, that would seem to be their objective. And they foolishly think that they can achieve it, given enough money. Hence the hype that you see on GOD TV and other media outlets for evangelists. But itís human effort. They forget that God is the one who calls, opens the understanding, and fashions the heart for Him to come in. And God doesnít need evangelistsí help to achieve it!

But if Heís called you to an evangelistic ministry, you can best fulfil His call on your life by NOT following the example of all the big name evangelists! Do it without making any name for yourself, without seeking any recognition or reward in this life. Do it by following the lead of Godís Spirit Ė which generally goes in the opposite direction you would normally think!

Some years ago, a dear old lady died in the faith. Helena and I had been a close friend of hers for about 20 years. We had taken her to church every week; Helena had regularly taken her shopping; I had done manual work for her, repairing her home. We had treated her as part of the family and she became like a grandmother to our children. Because she was a spinster, had no close family, and had her heart in the Work of God, she left nearly everything she owned to us in her will Ė over £100,000. To us it was a fortune!

We thought that sum would see us out until MMís work was completed! It was certainly Godís provision. But God had other things in mind about how to use it.

After we cleared our long-standing debts, He had us give two thirds of it away.

It went to fund evangelism in Africa, mainly in Nigeria and Kenya. It taught them Ė and us Ė valuable lessons. From one point of view it was wasted, because people didnít listen to the Spirit. The money was selfishly squandered and frittered away by folly and pride Ė evangelists who wanted to BE something! They did things the way they had seen others do them. They followed and copied men.

One man rented an arena like heíd seen other evangelists do. He hired buses to bring church members in to fill many of the otherwise empty seats. He advertised, hired sound equipment, and organised stage music, etc. All that would have been fine if God had said to do things that way, but He didnít. The man just assumed it would work. To ass-u-me is to make an ass out of u and me. And thatís what happened.

It was all a flop!

With hindsight you could say we were foolish to trust them with such large amounts of money, but God was teaching the most valuable lesson of all.

Itís not by human might, organisation, oratory, wealth, ability, skill, or planning that God achieves His objectives. Itís by His Spirit ó only His Spirit.

Itís not easy listening to the Spirit. Itís doubly difficult when you want to do things in a certain way and your mind is made up. Self-will seems so right. Ego (pride) enters all too often. There are also other factors of self that can compromise and ruin things.

God may still perform miracles, because He is faithful and true even when we are not, but there wonít be fruit commensurate with all the expense. Before God can use you, He requires you to give up what you would naturally want to have or hold for yourself.

Remember, God begins like a grain of mustard seed Ė small, very small! Sometimes the fruits of our efforts are meant to stay small, so that we donít get puffed up. Itís all about humility. Unfortunately, not many evangelists want that!

Malcolm B Heap,  March 2007

Further Reading:
Witnessing For Christ
(£2.00)
Guidelines For Evangelists (£1.00)
Listening To God (£2.00)
 

Copyright: Midnight Ministries, PO Box 29, Aylesbury, HP17 8TL, UK
www.midnightministries.org.uk