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October 1st, 2012

Misused Power in the Church

Jesus said to his disciples, "You will have power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. You will be my witnesses in Judea, Jerusalem, Samaria, and on to the end of the world" (Act 1:8).

In this statement, Jesus gave his disciples power coming from the Holy Spirit. But the power he gave them was not the authorization. Many people tend to confuse power with authorization. There are certain times we see people who are mightily empowered, but have lost their divine authorization from God. Many times people in leadership tend to misuse their power, even within ministry. Authorization gives you specific purpose to which you use the power. In the kingdom, Jesus is the one who gives the authorization as to how the power has to be used. So, he told his disciples that this anointing (gifts) coming with the Holy Spirit were supposed to be used for the betterment of the ministry. Jesus did not ask them to use the anointing to enrich their own pockets; buy big houses, or private jets. This is a very serious problem in the ministry today. Jesus asked them to use the power to enrich the kingdom of God on earth. While you are working in the ministry for the kingdom, Jesus determines your fringe benefits. Today, we see many people who pretend to be working for God, are busy stealing from the kingdom. Some of them will strip the sheep naked, and push them out the door to suffer. They are robbing Jesus blind, while enriching their pockets with the resources from the kingdom. Many of them have lost their sense of shame!

God Chooses and Empowers Whom He Calls

When Jesus sent his disciples to preach the good news of the kingdom, he gave them power, and the authorization to use the power. The authorization speaks directly to what the power is supposed to be used for. Throughout the Bible, when God called his messengers, he would give them power, and the authorization. The red-light warning sign is, be careful what you use the power of God to accomplish in your ministry. When God called Moses, he not only put Moses in his training program, he also gave him power and authorization. At one point during his training God asked Moses, "What is in your hand?" God told Moses to throw it down. When Moses did, the rod became a snake, and Moses wanted to run away. God instructed Moses to pick the snake back up by the tail. When Moses did, it became a rod again. At that moment God transferred power to Moses through the rod. God then gave Moses authorization how he was going to use the power in front of Pharaoh of Egypt. Moses was very careful not to abuse the power.

When Moses was before the Red Sea, he knew what God was going to do despite the commotion and chaos created by the children of Israel torturing him as they saw the Egyptian military coming down the street. At that moment, God issued an authorization to Moses saying, "Moses, lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea, and divide it" (Exodus 14:16). God gave instructions to Moses about how to use the rod to divide the Red Sea. Throughout the entire journey of the Children of Israel in the wilderness, God gave authorization to Moses as to how to use the power given to him. Moses had to be dependent on God despite God has given him the power. For the miracles to happen, God has to give the authorizations. At one point Moses got in trouble because he misused the power God gave him. God was angry with him.

Similarly, when God called Jeremiah, he gave him training, power, and the authorization to use the power. The authorizations were for specific things God wanted him to do while serving God’s purpose. God told Jeremiah that, "Before, I formed thee in the womb, I knew you. Before, you come out of your mother’s womb, I sanctified you, and ordained you as a prophet to the nations" (Jeremiah 1:5). God also told Jeremiah, "Whatever, I command you, you shall speak" (Jeremiah 1:7).

The selection for divine service happens before a messenger is born. If you are a true servant, God chose you before you were born. The ordination to serve in the priesthood happens inside the belly before a prophet is born. Although John the Baptist’s birth was prophesied before his mother got pregnant. Jesus was the one who sanctified John the Baptist as a prophet while John was still in the womb. This divine event took place when Mary met Elizabeth causing John to jump for joy when he saw Jesus and the anointing touched him. Both of them were still in the womb (St. Luke 1:44).

Jesus during his ministry asked the religious leaders of his time saying, "The baptism of John, was it from Heaven, or from men?"(St. Luke 20:4; Mark 11:30; St. Matthew 21:25). The religious leaders could not answer that question. This section of the Bible answers that question. Jesus was the one who baptized John the Baptist while John was still in the womb. The important lesson is that God is the one who called, ordained, and anoint his messengers to serve his purpose. What ever we do on earth is only rituals and the demonstrations of what already took place in the Spirit realm of the Holiness of God. So, if you are truly a messenger of God, you should be receiving daily assignments from God as other messengers ahead of you. Otherwise, forget it! Perhaps you have disconnected the radio frequency of Heaven because you just choose to do your own thing. Be very careful! Such preachers may have the Word of God in their heads, but not in their hearts. Head knowledge about the Word of God is not enough according to Jesus. The Word has to be a seed that germinates in your heart (not in your head) so you can bear fruits. If the Word germinates in your head, your head gets bigger and you worry more about your celebrity image than serving the purpose of God. You have to know the Word, feed on the Word, mediate on the Word, and live by the Word. If you do, you become fruit bearers for the Lord. Without the Words in your heart whatever you preach is like a man with a gun without bullets, and shooting blanks. The Words coming out of your mouth have no effects because you have lost your divine authority. Sadly today, many celebrity preachers have power as the gift given to them by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but they have lost direction and apostolic authority. They therefore settle only for polishing, bragging, and embracing their celebrity image. They therefore use Jesus’ money from the ministry to buy expensive toys for themselves.

Danger of Misused Power Without Authorization

Balaam was a gentile prophet who had power. Some writers characterized him as a false prophet. He was not a false prophet. He was about to use his power for personal gains. Then, God stopped him especially when he was about to misuse his power to place curse on those whom God had anointed. Balaam was like one of those preachers we see and hear today in the airways. The financial benefits from the ministry and the celebrity image are more important than serving the Lord. "Just send me your money, God wants to bless you." Quit telling a lie to the people! Will You?

God placed an angel with a sword on the way of Balaam. His desire to make money at the expense of God’s power was more important to him. While he was blinded by greed, God opened up the eyes of the beast he was riding. The donkey saw the angel with the drawn sword, but Balaam was blinded by his intention to get rich. That’s exactly what happens to some of these preachers today called the Balaam-Gehazi complex. As a result, even though Balaam had power, God took authorization from him. He could no longer use his power to do harm (Number 22:21-41). Then the angel gave Balaam an instruction saying, "Go with the men, but only speak what I tell you" (Number 22:35). After the angel spoke to Balaam, he received authorization to use his power to do good.

"They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness. But he was rebuked for his iniquity. A dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet" (II Peter 2:15-16).

"Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run the greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perish in the rebellion of Korah" (Jude 1:11).

God gave King Saul an assignment and authority to go to war with the Amalekites. He was to take no prisoners and was instructed to destroy everything. That was a divine order! However, for personal gains, King Saul disobeyed God, and violated the authority God gave him.

"But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them" (I Samuel 15:9).

As a result of Saul’s disobedience to God, Samuel pronounced God’s judgment against Saul’s sins. "The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you" (I Samuel 15:28).

From that day King Saul lived a very wretched life and died in a very humiliating way in the war.

Gehazi was the greedy servant of Elisha. Instead of allowing God’s glory to bless him as Elisha was blessed by receiving the mantle of Elijah, Gehazi allowed greed to destroy his divine blessings. He lost the priesthood on the altar of greed. In the end, the curse of Elisha manifested as leprosy in his life and that of his children (II King 5: 1-27).

"Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you, and your descendants forever" And he went out from his presence leprous, as white as snow (II King 5:27).

Because of greed, Gehazi lost the priesthood, and was afflicted with a painful disease with his children for the rest of his life.

Ananias and Sapphira faced instant judgment of God when they conspired to deceive the Holy Spirit because of their greedy intentions. It was not so much the money they kept back, but the craftiness of their deceptive ways that led them in trouble.

Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself" (Acts 5:3).

Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out." Immediately, she fell down and died (Acts 5:9-10).

Husband and wife partners in crime faced sudden death due to greed!

Destructive Power of Greed in Today’s Ministry

I feel very sorry for well-empowered preachers who have resorted to using their power for personal gains. The human soul is already contaminated with the DNA of the devil. Any earthly thing that overfeeds the flesh leads man straight into the hand of the devil. A day will come that greedy preachers if they refuse to repent that God’s judgment will come down like fire from Heaven. Just because you have the power does not give you the authorization to do as you please while serving the Lord. In the past, those servants who allowed greed to destroy their ministries ended of paying a very painful price.

The church is not your private property. Your members are not tools for you to make money. While working in the kingdom of God, the Lord calls the shots, not you. If you dare to use the power of God for personal gains, be ready to face the painful consequences. Read the stories cited above of those greedy servants in the Bible. Their ends were not pretty. Part of the major reason why Christianity is losing ground in the U.S. and perhaps in other countries is because we preachers have turned the house of God to our own private investments. Money and celebrity driven ministries are destroying the messages of Christ. The more members we have, the richer we get! Even some churches are taking fellow churches to court for stealing their members! What has the ministry of the Lord turned into? We allow the demons of the Walls Streets to invade the church. We now wonder why our voices can no longer change the hearts of those sitting in the pews. And our children are walking away from Christianity because of our hypocrisy. We speak on three corners of our mouth and even do the opposite of what we preach confusing the heck out of our children. Many preachers are preaching Jesus with poverty of the soul because of greed. We become anointed preachers with loss of divine authority. I heard one preacher on the television saying, "If you invest in my ministry, as soon as God blesses me, God will also bless you too." This is the gospel message from the heart of the devil! It’s a lie! May God have mercy on us, and show us the light.

Sexual Predators Inside the Church

I am very ashamed to even dare to discuss a topic like this, but the reality is the existence of sexual predators inside the church. They have power, and they abuse their powers for their own personal gains. Anybody whom they want becomes their preys even inside the church. They prey on somebody else’s spouse, child, or a stranger; it does not matter. All they do is to their own benefits to the detriments of others and the congregation.

One of the most difficult conversations, I ever had in my life is to explain spirituality to pastors who do not know how to walk in the Spirit of God. They are used to walking in the flesh. Every discussion is always about the cognitive analysis in their brains, not realizing the fact that human brains can never decipher the divine messages of God. That is what the Bible teaches us! As long as we are unwilling to let the Holy Spirit drive the process, we surrender ourselves as predators to the enemy. The enemy then leads us only to the desires of the flesh.

Abuse of Parental Authority

If God places an aversion of a certain form of entertainment before you, it is possible such an entertainment may be an open door for the enemy to attack you. The Holy Spirit created the aversion for your protection. Encouraging a person to engage or enjoy that form of entertainment may lead the person into the jaws of the devil. Be careful as a pastor what you encourage people to enjoy as entertainment. Many of the entertainments today have attachment of demonic influences, especially in the music industry. If a particular member tells you about their discomfort over a movie, song, or any form of entertainment, never force that person to embrace such entertainment. The person’s spirit developed an aversion to such entertainment for reasons neither you nor the person knew. By forcing a person to get into such entertainment may be leading the person into the wrong path. You cannot see everything in the physical realm.

There was a story of a mother in one of the developing countries who wanted to give liquid medication to her son. As the mother was approaching with the medication, the child ran away. When the mother caught the child, the little boy fought the mother and refused to take the liquid medication. For about an hour the mother tried and failed. She almost broke the jaw of the son when she forced it open and inserted the liquid medication. The medication went down the boy’s throat. A couple of hours later, the boy was dead. Evidence indicated that there was a poison in the medication causing the death of many kids who received the medication. How did this young boy know it was poison, if not because of the protective power of the Holy Spirit? The mother made a confession that she should have never forced the medication on her son. The child was already dead. Other kids that refused to take the medication remained alive.

Do you know how other people are spiritually wired? Just because you enjoy a form of entertainment in the secular world does not mean another person may enjoy such entertainment because we are all predisposed differently to certain dangers. When a person has completely surrendered to the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit becomes the guardian of the person’s soul. If that person becomes repulsive to an object, music, or a form of entertainment, the Holy Spirit may be trying to protect the person from such object, music or entertainment. The human response may not necessarily be adequately explained by cognitive analysis. The Holy Spirit may engineer human reactions to things due to his role as the guardian of human soul. This is similar to a parent protecting his children.

There was a case in which a teenager was asked by his parents to listen to hard rock music. The fourteen year old told his parents he did not like the music. He would rather read his Bible. He strongly told his parents, "I hate hard rock music!" In a process of forcing him to enjoy the music, the parents started playing that music in the house continuously. Interestingly, the parents were Christians who attended church every Sunday. They were hoping the more the son heard the music, the more he would be desensitized to the music. A couple of months later the son was found dead in his room with a gun blast to his head. Such approach used to be a form of therapy to flood a person with the images of an object, or music of aversion. The primary intention is to desensitize the person. It did not work in this case. The young man left a suicide note for his parents. He said that a mysterious man visited him in his dream, and told him to shoot himself in the head to end his torment. He did what the demonic spirit told him to do. Could it be possible that this young boy’s spirit was initially very repulsive to the music because he knew he was vulnerable to the open door of the enemy? What the parents did was an abuse of their parental power over their son. They should have just left their son alone when he said he was uninterested in hard rock music. At times, our explanation over events in the physical may be inadequate to explain the mystery of the events in the spirit realm.

Do Not Abuse You Power

Just because you are the pastor over a very large church does not give you the power to abuse others. Let the authority on how to use you power comes from the Lord. One day, God is going to ask each one of us what we have done with the authority he granted us to serve him. He asked you to be a shepherd, and not to steal from the sheep. Minister to people, but do not take advantage of them. Do you serve God purposely to enrich your own pocket, or to serve the flocks? It is not too late to sell all you got, give to the poor and remain an obedient servant to God. You do not need to be homeless, but you can live a contented life. And you will have more riches in Heaven. That’s what Jesus said. You can either believe in Jesus, or face the mighty hammer of God’s judgment later. You make a choice!

By Yinka Vidal, Author, Closer Walk With Jesus.